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Switzerland breaks neutral status to sanction Russia over Ukraine invasion

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Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin.Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Switzerland's Federal Council said on Monday that it was adopting the EU's sanctions against Russia.

  • The package includes freezing Putin's personal assets, effective immediately.

  • Switzerland said it would close its airspace to Russian aircraft and bar people close to Putin from entering.

Switzerland broke its historically neutral status to sanction Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement on Monday, Switzerland's Federal Council said it would adopt sanctions against Russia effective immediately. The measures, it said, would match those of the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member.

The sanctions package targets various Russian companies and individuals and involves freezing the personal assets of President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The council said it would also close its airspace to all flights from Russia and "all movements of aircraft with Russian markings," bar people close to Putin from entering Switzerland, and send relief supplies to Poland to help with settling Ukrainian refugees.

"Switzerland reaffirms its solidarity with Ukraine and its people," the statement said.

The US, the UK, and the EU imposed sanctions on Russian companies and individuals after Putin ordered troops into Ukraine last week.

Putin on Sunday put Russia's nuclear-deterrent forces on high alert, saying that was a response to "illegitimate Western sanctions."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine — the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II — has prompted many historically neutral countries in the West to impose sanctions or send weapons.

Sweden said on Sunday that it was sending military aid, including anti-tank weapons, to Ukraine, breaking its decades-long tradition of not sending weapons to countries in armed conflict. The last time Sweden did so was in 1939, when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters.

Also on Sunday, the EU announced plans to purchase and deliver weapons to Ukraine, marking the first time the bloc has ever bought and sent weapons to a country under attack.

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