Feb 28, 2022 - World

Historically neutral countries turn on Putin after Ukraine invasion

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 24.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 24. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images

Switzerland on Monday adopted European Union sanctions against Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine — a historic move given the country's history of maintaining neutrality toward armed or political conflicts between other states.

Why it matters: Swiss sanctions are the latest sign that traditionally neutral countries are turning on Moscow.

  • Sweden, a neutral EU member that is not in NATO, also announced Sunday it would send thousands of weapons and $50 million in funding directly to the Ukrainian military despite its historically neutral position in global conflicts.
  • Finland, another non-NATO and neutral EU member, said Monday it will deliver 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 cartridges for the attack rifles, 1,500 single-shot anti-tank weapons and 70,000 combat ration packages to Ukraine.
  • Finland and Sweden also attended a virtual summit with NATO leaders after Russia's invasion, which prompted a warning from Moscow that their admittance into the defensive treaty would trigger "serious military-political consequences," according to AP.

Details: Geneva is a major financial center and commodities trading hub, and it's believed that many Russian oligarchs and other Russian economic elite have money in Swiss banks, according to AP.

  • The sanctions target President Vladimir Putin, several other government officials and Russian businesses. Switzerland also closed its airspace to all flights from Russia.

The big picture: Other nations have dropped traditions in response to Moscow's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

  • Germany said it would send Ukraine 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles in a complete reversal of its restrictive arms export policy.
  • Israel, which has maintained good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, called Russia's invasion a "violation of the world order" and said it would vote in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Moscow.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details on the Swiss sanctions.

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