Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (R) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk on December 14, 2007. Democratic nations have repeatedly sanctioned their two countries following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month, which Belarus has aided in. On Wednesday, Switzerland joined in enforcing punitive measures against Minsk. File photo by Anatoli Zhdanov/UPI | License Photo
March 16 (UPI) -- Historically neutral Switzerland announced sanctions Wednesday against Belarus over its actions to aid Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
Bern's Federal Council said in a statement that it decided Wednesday to adopt in full the sanctions the European Union extended to Belarus earlier this month.
The sanctions, which go into effect midday Wednesday, prohibit the export of all dual-use items and goods that could be used by the military or to enhance Minsk's defense and security sectors.
They also extend import bans on Belarusian wood and rubber products as well as Iron, steel and cement.
Meanwhile, transactions with the Belarusian Central Bank and also prohibited as are public financing or financial assistance for trade in the European country. The punitive measures also exclude listed Belarusian banks from SWIFT, which is the international messaging system for financial transitions.
The sanctions are similar to those Switzerland imposed upon Russia following its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Switzerland, famous for remaining neutral during conflicts, has followed democratic nations that have unleashed a torrent of sanctions and other financial restrictions against mainly Russia but also Belarus following Moscow's attack on Ukraine.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the moves have already had an effect upon Russia's economy, which is forecast to slide into a deep recession.
Ukrainian service members stand beside a damaged building in a residential area after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo