Ukraine - Switzerland's adoption of EU's eighth package of sanctions


On 23 November 2022, the Federal Council adopted the remaining measures set out in the European Union (EU)'s eighth package of sanctions against Russia which entered into force on the same day at 6 PM. The main amendments to the Ordinance instituting measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine (the "Ordinance") may be summarised as follows.

1. Additional listings and extension of restrictions to the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia

New individuals and entities have been listed in Annex 8 and are thus subject to the economic resources and assets' freeze pursuant to Article 15 of the Ordinance.

Furthermore, the geographical scope of the restrictive measures linked to the non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine now extends to the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia (see Annex 6).

2. Introduction of oil price caps and prohibition to transport Russian crude oil and oil petroleum products

While Article 12b of the Ordinance already contained a prohibition to provide various services in connection with the transport out of Switzerland of Russian crude oil or petroleum products, the new Article 12b(3) of the Ordinance now also prohibits the provision of such services to ships which have carried Russian crude oil or petroleum products whose purchase price exceeded the price cap set out in Annex 28 at the date of conclusion of the contract. The precise amount of the price caps is yet to be determined in Annex 28, however.

Moreover, the new Article 12b(1) of the Ordinance prohibits the transport outside Switzerland and the EEA of Russian crude oil and petroleum products, including by transshipment from ship to ship.

3. Restrictions on other iron and steel products, aerospace goods and goods of economic importance to Russia

While Article 14a of the Ordinance prohibits the import, transport and purchase of iron and steel products listed in Annex 17 originating in or coming from Russia, as well as the provision of various services in connection with such import, transport and purchase, the Federal Council extended the scope of Annex 17 and thereby the scope of iron and steel products under restrictions.

Similarly, Annex 3 and Annex 20 have also been extended to broaden the respective scope of sanctioned aerospace goods and goods of economic importance to Russia.

4. Bans on the provision of further services (IT, engineering, architecture, legal services)

While Article 28e of the Ordinance already prohibited the direct or indirect provision of certain services (in particular auditing, tax consulting services, business and management consulting) to the Government of the Russian Federation or to legal persons, companies or entities established in that a country, the new Article 28e(1bis) prohibits the direct or indirect provision of architecture and engineering services, legal services and IT services to the Government of the Russian Federation or to legal persons, companies or entities established in that country.

This prohibition of legal services is subject to several exemptions (Article 28e(2) of the Ordinance) and does not apply, in particular, to:

  • services which are necessary for the exercise of the rights of the defence in judicial proceedings or the right to an effective remedy;
  • services for the exclusive use of legal persons established in the Russian Federation which are owned or controlled exclusively or jointly by legal persons organised under the laws of Switzerland, a Member State of the EEA or the United Kingdom;
  • services which are necessary to secure access to judicial, administrative or arbitral proceedings in Switzerland, an EEA Member State or the United Kingdom, or for the recognition or enforcement of a judgment or arbitral award issued in Switzerland, an EEA Member State or the United Kingdom.

Reference may be made to the EU guidelines providing details on the scope of application of the prohibition to provide legal services.
In particular, the term "legal services" covers the provision of legal advice to customers in non-contentious matters, including commercial transactions, negotiations and other dealings with third parties, and the preparation, execution and verification of legal documents.

Furthermore, the prohibition linked to the provision of legal services does not extend to representation, advice, the preparation of documents and verification of documents in the context of legal representation services, namely in matters or proceedings before administrative agencies, courts, other duly constituted official tribunals, and arbitral and mediation proceedings.

5. Introduction of arms embargo against Russia and Ukraine

A new Article 2a(1) of the Ordinance expressly prohibits the sale, delivery, export and transit of military equipment of all kinds to or for use in Russia or Ukraine, as well as the provision of services of any kind in connection with such sale, delivery, export and transit.

In addition, a broader arms embargo is introduced against Russia as Article 2a(2) and (3) of the Ordinance also prohibits the purchase, acquisition, import and transit of Russian military equipment of all kinds, as well as the provision of services of any kind in connection with such purchase, acquisition, import and transit.

Readers are invited to refer to Article 2a paragraphs 4 to 7 for exceptions to these prohibitions.

6. Permission to purchase fertilizers destined for third countries

While Article 14c of the Ordinance prohibits the purchase, import, transit and transport in and through Switzerland of Russian fertilizers listed in Annex 20, as well as the provision of services of any kind in connection with such purchase, import, transit and transport, the Federal Council introduced an exception to this rule in Article 14c(4) of the Ordinance for certain fertilizers which are destined for a third country outside Switzerland and the EU.

The Federal Council explained in its press release of 23 November 2022 that this introduction is founded on Switzerland's determination to contribute to combating the global food and energy crisis in light of the important role of Switzerland in the global fertilizer trade.  

Readers may refer to Annex 21 to access the list of permitted fertilizers.


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