Switzerland steps up sanctions against Belarus over support for Russian invasion

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Switzerland has tightened its economic sanctions against Belarus, the government said on Wednesday, citing the eastern European country’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Neutral Switzerland has adopted in full the economic sanctions against Belarus already imposed by the European Union on March 2 and 9.

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The sanctions, which come into force on Wednesday, mainly concern trade and financial sanctions, Switzerland said, and include an export ban of dual-use items which can be used for both military or civilian purposes.

The import ban of products into Switzerland has also been extended to include Belarusian wood products, and items made from rubber, iron, steel, and cement.

The provision of public financing or financial assistance for trade with or investment in Belarus is prohibited, the government said, while restrictions apply to securities, loans and the acceptance of deposits. Transactions with the Belarusian Central Bank are also no longer permitted.

Swiss companies have reduced their activities in Belarus of late, with train-builder Stadler Rail on Tuesday saying it would temporarily shut down operations at its factory near Minsk.

Switzerland this month widened its sanctions against Russia in step with further measures imposed by the EU, tightening exports and financial services to the country over the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

In a sharp deviation from its traditional neutrality, Switzerland adopted sanctions that the EU imposed on Russian people and companies and froze their assets to punish Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.

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