GENEVA, March 12 — Swiss banks are giving hourly updates on progress in implementing sanctions against Russian individuals and companies, Economy Minister Guy Parmelin said, and the government intends to report soon on the amount frozen.

Switzerland has adopted sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russian people and firms in a sharp deviation from its traditional neutrality, ordering that assets be frozen in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Every hour we get a lot of reports from banks, from financial intermediaries, from insurance companies, and we want to report very soon,” Parmelin told SRF radio, adding that it was a “bit too early” to say how much had been frozen so far.

Russians held nearly 10.4 billion Swiss francs (US$11.13 billion) in Switzerland in 2020, Swiss National Bank data show.

Bern has largely steered clear of imposing sanctions in previous crises, including when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

The exception until this year has been sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, which Switzerland has to implement under international law.

Asked whether by imposing sanctions Switzerland had lost its political neutrality, Parmelin said: “We remain neutral.” — Reuters