Ukraine Can’t Have Russian Assets Frozen in Switzerland, Bern Says
Hundreds of billions of dollars’ in Russian assets were trapped in the West in February 2022 after the United States and the European Union moved to freeze them to “punish” Moscow for its military operation in Ukraine. A year later, the EU’s legal service indicated that it didn’t know the whereabouts of over 85 percent of these funds.
Switzerland will not allow assets belonging to the Russian Central Bank held in Swiss banks to be used for “Ukrainian reconstruction,” a spokesperson for the nation’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has said.
“The answer is no,” the spokesperson told Russian media on Friday when asked whether Bern would entertain transferring Russian assets to Kiev.
“Your statement is a misinterpretation of [a government] press release dated May 10. The release notes only that ‘in the EU there are ongoing discussions on whether assets of the Russian Central Bank should be invested and the proceeds used for the reconstruction of Ukraine,’ and that ‘Switzerland is following these discussions closely,’” the spokesperson said.
SECO announced Wednesday that about 7.4 billion Swiss francs ($8.23 billion) worth of Russian Central Bank assets are trapped in Swiss banks. Transactions related to the management of these assets were “immobilized” in February 2022 after Russia kicked off its special military operation.
Swiss authorities reported on the size of the Russian reserves stuck in its banks in accordance with a new reporting obligation introduced in late March.
The Swiss government distinguished be
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