Switzerland slaps sanctions on Wagner Group
Switzerland on Thursday announced sanctions against the Wagner Group terrorist organisation and RIA Fan news agency affiliated with it, both linked to Kremlin oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin.
In a statement, the Swiss economic affairs department, responsible for sanctions policy, said that the country joined the latest European Union measures as part of countering its military aggression against Ukraine.
The Wagner Group was sanctioned "for its active participation in Russia's military aggression against Ukraine," including as "an instrument of Russian hybrid warfare" that forms part of a complex network of global companies – "operating in a range of sectors including aviation, security, technology, commodity trading, financial services and influencing activities" – which are linked through overlapping ownership structures and logistics networks.
Sanctions against RIA Fan were imposed "for spreading pro-government propaganda and disinformation".
Switzerland, however, refrained from taking measures against television channels RT Arabic and Sputnik Arabic, which "play a significant role in the Russian government's systematic international campaign of media manipulation and falsification of facts".
The Swiss authorities previously stated that "it is more effective to counter untrue and harmful statements with facts rather than to ban them outright", the statement reads.
"Therefore, while these two media outlets will not be blocked in Switzerland, there will be a ban on advertising on them."