Top Russian Banks Banned From SWIFT Payments System
The United States and European nations agreed to block certain Russian banks' access to the SWIFT payment system to punish Moscow over its attack against Ukraine.
New Delhi: The United States and European nations agreed to block certain Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT payment system to punish Moscow over its attack against Ukraine. Announcing the measures in Brussels, the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she would push the bloc to “paralyze the assets of Russia’s Central bank” so that its transactions would be frozen. Cutting several commercial banks from SWIFT “will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,” she said.
“Cutting banks off will stop them from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports,” Ursula von der Leyen said. “Putin embarked on a path aiming to destroy Ukraine, but what he is also doing, in fact, is destroying the future of his own country,” the EU Commission president said, according to a report by The Associated Press.
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The disconnection from SWIFT announced by the West is partial, leaving Europe and the United States room to escalate penalties later. Officials said they had not fully settled on which banks would be cut off.
Getting the EU on board for sanctioning Russia through SWIFT had been a tough process since EU trade with Russia amounted to 80 billion euros, about 10 times as much as the United States, which had been an early proponent of such measures.
Germany specifically had balked at the measure since it could hit them hard. But Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement that “after Russia’s shameless attack … we are working hard on limiting the collateral damage of decoupling (Russia) from SWIFT so that it hits the right people. What we need is a targeted, functional restrictions of SWIFT.”
The moves comes as Russian forces continued to move forward towards Kyiv while blowing up a major gas pipeline in Ukraine.
(With inputs from AP)
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