The move was announced on Monday, with Russian authorities alleging those placed on the list had committed “unfriendly acts” against it.
Those placed on the list include all EU countries, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, among others.
While Russian authorities did not specify exactly why these countries have been placed on the list, experts believe the move comes as a response to western sanctions imposed as a result of the invasion.
The exact scope and impact of being placed on the list is also relatively unclear, although news agency Interfax reports that anyone in Russia wishing to deal with countries on the list can only do so with government approval.
“All business and transactions of Russian companies with citizens and companies from countries that are not friendly to Russia are now approved by the government commission for the supervision of foreign investments.”
The practical impact of this is likely to be relatively minimal however, with western companies already pulling out of Russia due to western sanctions.
— Christof Franzen (@Ch_Franzen) March 7, 2022
Switzerland’s neutrality was questioned after the decision to join the EU’s sanctions effort, although Swiss authorities have repeatedly said the commitment to neutrality is unwavering.
On Monday, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis dismissed concerns expressed internationally, including by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that western sanctions were a declaration of war.
“Switzerland is not at war with Russia,” Cassis said.
International law professor Oliver Diggelmann, from the University of Zurich told The Local that although Switzerland’s announcement was significant, it did not represent an end to Swiss neutrality.
“Switzerland remains a neutral country,” Diggelmann said.
“(Neutral) states have a legal obligation, which comes from their status as permanent neutrals, to not participate militarily in an armed conflict between states and to not support a conflict party with arms.”
Diggelmann emphasised that being committed to neutrality did not mean a commitment to doing nothing.
“Yesterday, the Swiss government recognised that not fully sanctioning such a blatant violation economically would make (Switzerland) an indirect accomplice of the aggressor. It openly positioned itself against a great power, even though only economically, which also marks a cesura in the Swiss political culture.”