EU, UK, Canada, and U.S. pledge to remove selected Russian banks from SWIFT system

The U.S., European allies and Canada agreed to disconnect specific Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

SWIFT is an independent enterprise based in Belgium that serves as an internal messaging system between over 11,000 banks and financial institutions in over 200 countries and territories. A country’s removal from SWIFT means that key banks will be severed from much of the global financial system.

The measures were announced jointly as part of a new round of financial sanctions meant to “hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

The central bank restrictions target the more than $600 billion in reserves that the Kremlin has at its disposal, meant to limit Russia’s ability to support the ruble amid tightening Western sanctions.

“We, the leaders of the United Kingdom, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the United States condemn Putin’s war of choice and attacks on the sovereign nation and people of Ukraine,” said a statement from those countries.

“As Russian forces unleash their assault on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, we are resolved to continue imposing costs on Russia that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies,” it said. They said they will hold Russia to account and ensure that “this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”

EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said she will propose new measures to EU leaders to “strengthen our response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“First, we commit to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT,” she wrote on Twitter, quoting the joint statement, and adding it would “stop them from operating worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports.”

“Second, we will paralyse the assets of Russia’s central bank,” she said. “This will freeze its transactions. And it will make it impossible for the Central Bank to liquidate its assets.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Twitter: “Appreciate your support and real help in this dark time. Ukrainian people will never forget this.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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