Switzerland will keep its sanctions on Russian raw materials secret

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland will maintain strict confidentiality rules as part of its Russia sanctions package and will continue discussions with trading firms over the confidentiality of its purchases of Russian crude, the government agency in charge of trade said on Wednesday.

The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Tuesday she would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to limit purchases by “merchants” to Russian state-controlled companies, under Berne’s EU sanctions that limit goods transactions to Those deemed “absolutely essential” as of mid-May.

Asked by Reuters how SECO plans to inform such decisions, a spokesperson said: “We do not comment publicly on individual transactions. They cannot be accessed.”

Switzerland is a major trading center for Russian raw materials.

Sources told Reuters last week told Reuters last week that the world’s leading trading companies plan to reduce purchases of crude oil and fuel from Russian state-controlled companies such as Rosneft and Gazpromneft starting May 15 to avoid falling into European Union sanctions on Russia.

The European Union did not impose a ban on Russian oil imports in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, because some countries, such as Germany, are highly dependent on Russian oil and do not have the infrastructure to switch to alternative energy sources.

But sources told Reuters last week that trading firms had scaled back their purchases from Russia’s energy group Rosneft in compliance with the rhetoric of European Union sanctions aimed at restricting Russia’s access to the international financial system.

The wording of the EU sanctions exempts Rosneft or Gazpromneft from purchases of oil, included in the legislation, which are “absolutely necessary” to ensure energy security in Europe.

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(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Toby Chopra; Translated by Dario Fernandez)

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