Swiss rail manufacturer Stadler has confirmed to Railway Technology it has significantly reduced the work at its Belarus plant, but it has not exited the country – as rumours circulating the industry had suggested.
Stadler, which produces rolling stock globally, said it has ceased any and all manufacturing for Belarussian and Russian clients. However, the Fanipol facility outside Minsk is still providing services to Belarus regarding previous contracts.
In June 2022, Stadler provided 10 FLIRT trains to Belarus as part of a deal finalised in 2019 – before the invasion of Ukraine and the implementation of sanctions on Russia and Belarus.
“In strict compliance with all sanctions, the factory in Belarus continues to provide services that are required in the context of processing the existing rolling stock orders that Stadler has acquired before February 2022,” the company told Railway Technology.
A Stadler spokesperson added that the company “consistently complies will all sanctions issues as a result of the Russian war of aggression”. The company condemned the “attack on Ukraine” ordered by the Russian government and confirmed it had no production facility within Russia.
The spokesperson further said: “As a Swiss publicly listed company, Stadler consistently complies with all sanctions issued as a result of the Russian war of aggression.
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Accordingly, Stadler has transferred orders from its plant in Belarus to its plants in the European Union and Switzerland and reduced its business in Belarus to the necessary minimum.”
Russia and Belarus are both under international sanction regimes following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February 2022. Belarus is impacted because, although its troops are not believed to be involved in fighting, the Belarus government allowed Russian forces to enter Ukraine via its borders.
On Sunday, Russia was thrust into chaos by rebellion from its “military contractors” the Wagner Group. Its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has relocated to Belarus, again putting the spotlight on one of Russia’s remaining allies.
The European Union and US sanctions limit all trade with Belarus and name 22 individuals who cannot do any business with EU or US-registered companies.
Although Switzerland is not an EU Member State, it often aligns with EU sanctions. Stadler is a Swiss-registered company.