Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the Swiss government to freeze the bank accounts of all Russian oligarchs.
Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported that Mr Zelensky, who spoke via livestream on Saturday to thousands of antiwar protesters in the Swiss city of Bern, said: “in your banks are the funds of the people who unleashed this war. Help to fight this. So that their funds are frozen. (…) It would be good to take away those privileges from them.”
The Ukrainian president also criticised the Swiss multinational food conglomerate Nestle, which has decided not to withdraw from Russia for the time being as opposed to many other international companies.
Mr Zelensky’s speech was dubbed into German. When he called for the blocking of oligarchs’ accounts, great applause erupted.
The Ukrainian leader has also said the siege of Mariupol will go down in history for war crimes committed by Russian troops.
Those forces have advanced deeper into Ukraine’s besieged and battered port city, with heavy fighting shutting down a major steel plant there.
The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war’s worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the invasion.
Evacuations from Mariupol and other cities proceeded along eight of 10 humanitarian corridors on Saturday. In the capital Kyiv, at least 20 babies carried by Ukrainian surrogate mothers are stuck in a makeshift bomb shelter.
Speaking in a video address early on Sunday, Mr Zelensky suspended 11 political parties with links to Russia.
The largest of them is the Opposition Platform for Life, which has 44 out of 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament. The party is led by Viktor Medvedchuk, who has friendly ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the godfather of Mr Medvedchuk’s daughter.
Also on the list is the Nashi (Ours) party led by Yevheniy Murayev. Before the Russian invasion, British authorities warned that Russia wanted to install Mr Murayev as the leader of Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky said that “given a large-scale war unleashed by the Russian Federation and links between it and some political structures, the activities of a number of political parties is suspended for the period of the martial law”.
He added that “activities by politicians aimed at discord and collaboration will not succeed”.
The announcement follows the introduction of the martial law that envisages a ban on parties associated with Russia.