UPDATED: Switzerland must freeze Russian oligarchs’ accounts, says Polish PM

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WARSAW, March 21 (Reuters) – Switzerland must freeze the accounts of Russian oligarchs in the country and confiscate their assets, the Polish prime minister said on Monday during a visit to Warsaw by Swiss President Ignazio Cassis.

In a bid to force a Russian military withdrawal from Ukraine, Western countries have imposed numerous sanctions, including freezing the Russian central bank’s assets.

“They must be frozen, the assets of Russian oligarchs in Switzerland must be confiscated and I called on the president to see to it that Switzerland approaches this topic decisively,” Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference.

Cassis said Switzerland had adopted European Union sanctions against hundreds of people, including many oligarchs.

“They cannot dispose of their assets. If they own companies in Switzerland, be it in the commodities sector or elsewhere, these companies are also concerned by the measures. There have already been bankruptcies,” he said.

Cassis said the measures taken by Switzerland were compatible with the country’s constitution and its long history of neutrality.

“What is not compatible is military participation,” he said. “This has been the case for 400 years.”

Poland’s prime minister earlier said that he will explore ways to freeze and seize Russian assets in the country at a meeting with opposition politicians on Monday. Mateusz Morawiecki made the statement in an interview with the Wprost weekly, published online on Sunday evening, the state PAP news agency reported.

On Friday, government spokesman Piotr Müller announced that Morawiecki would meet with politicians from Poland’s main parliamentary groupings for talks about Russia’s attack on Ukraine. 

Other topics for Monday’s talks include support for refugees, as well national and regional security, according to the spokesman. 

Morawiecki said in the interview that various countries were seizing the property of Russian oligarchs, and a growing number of Poles were expecting his government to take similar steps. 

“We want to do it through the Sejm (lower house of parliament) and we decided that the opposition should be involved in this process,” he added.  

Morawiecki announced that Warsaw would lay out its proposal of sending a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine at a summit of the NATO alliance on Thursday. 

The plan was floated by Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński during a visit with the Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers to Ukraine’s embattled capital Kyiv last week.    

Monday is day 26 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Poland on Sunday reported it had admitted nearly 2.1 million refugees fleeing Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

PHOTO – Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Office of the Prime Minister of Poland

Read more via Polish National Radio

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