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Switzerland adopts new EU sanctions on Russia, allows for oil payments

The Swiss government imposed further sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, in line with the European Union’s latest measures on gold and gold products, the cabinet said.

The government said that it had made two new exceptions with respect to transactions related to agricultural products and oil supplies to third countries, which the EU has as well, in order to avoid any disruptions in payment channels.

“The new measures primarily concern a ban on buying, importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia. Services in connection with these goods are also prohibited,” a government statement said.

It further read that Switzerland was committed to tackling the global food and energy crisis, noting that none of the measures against Russia were directed against the trade in agricultural or food products between non-EU members, as well as a country or territory whose citizens do not enjoy the European Union right to free movement, and Russia.

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“To avoid disruption to payment channels, the Federal Council [cabinet] has made two new exceptions with respect to transactions related to agricultural products and oil supplies to third countries, as has the EU,” the government pointed out.

Purchases of Russian seaborne crude oil by EU companies and its export to third countries are allowed, but under tweaks to EU sanctions on Russia that came into force last month, payments related to such shipments would not be banned.

The Swiss government noted that the largest Russian bank, Sberbank, has also had its assets frozen and is banned from providing funds, economic resources or technical services.

“New derogations are being introduced to ensure the orderly wind-down of transactions and the sale of Sberbank subsidiaries,” it said.

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