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Switzerland may hold referendum on Russian assets seizure

Confiscation of Russian assets in favor of Ukraine will require appropriate international and national legal adjustments.

Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs head Ignazio Cassis said in an interview that Switzerland would likely have to hold a referendum on the issue.

Read also: Opinion – Switzerland is part of the Western bloc and no longer a neutral state

Swiss authorities froze over CHF7.5 (US$8.1) in Russian assets. However, Cassis stressed these funds could not be confiscated under the current law.

Ignazio Cassis. (Photo internet reproduction)
Ignazio Cassis. (Photo internet reproduction)

“We can’t just take money that doesn’t belong to us because we think it’s morally right,” he said.

“It’s about finding the right mechanisms so that there are no side effects greater than the intended main effect – almost like in medicine.”

Cassis also noted there is already “international pressure on all states, including Switzerland, to use Russian assets to support Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called freezing Russian assets in Europe a theft.

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