Switzerland has frozen about 7.7 billion Swiss francs ($8.81 billion) in financial assets belonging to Russians under sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, the Swiss government said on Tuesday.

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The amount represents a preliminary estimate and is slightly higher than last year, when the Swiss government said it had blocked 7.5 billion francs after the neutral country introduced EU sanctions.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs — the agency that oversees sanctions — said today's preliminary estimate of the value of assets is not final and is subject to change. The agency said it found it difficult to give a more accurate assessment because new people are constantly being added or removed to the sanctioned list and lawsuits freeze or unblock assets.

A more accurate estimate is expected towards the end of the second quarter of 2024, when Swiss banks report to the government.

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