US and EU ban Russian banks from Swift system in latest sanction

High-security banking system connects thousands of financial institutions around the world

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
,Andrew Feinberg
Sunday 27 February 2022 03:37
Comments
'Let's defend Ukraine together!' Ukraine Defence shares video of destroyed Russian tank

The United States and European Union have banned some Russian banks from the Swift financial system in the latest sanction against Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

Western leadership, which also includes the United Kingdom and Canada, expelled Russia from the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world in a decision announced on Saturday evening.

Ukraine latest – live updates

“We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people in their heroic efforts to resist Russia’s invasion. Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending,” a joint statement read.

“We will hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”

And it added: “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. We will implement these measures within the coming days.”

The Swift international payments system said later in the day that it was prepared to implement the new measures soon. “We are engaging with European authorities to understand the details of the entities that will be subject to the new measures and we are preparing to comply upon legal instruction,” it said in a statement.

The western nations’ decision to trigger the action came after the EU, which was previously split on the matter, decided to move forward with it.

In removing the Russian banks from Swift, the leaders said the move would “ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.”

And the group said it was prepared to take further action against Russia and Mr Putin.

“We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour. Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine,” the statement concluded.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, took to Twitter to confirm the latest move against Russia.

“First, we commit to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT. It will stop them from operating worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports,” she tweeted.

The Biden administration had faced calls from Ukraine and US lawmakers in Congress for Russia to be removed from Swift after Mr Putin launched the unprovoked attack on Thursday.

Following the announcement, a senior administration official said that the White House was “committed to fully implementing sanctions” towards Russia and the country’s elites and that the US government would “go after their yachts, their luxury apartments, their money and their ability to send their kids to fancy colleges in the West.”

The officials said that any bank removed from Swift that wanted to carry out a transaction outside Russia would be forced to use the telephone or a fax machine.

And they said that the West would target the Russian Central Bank to prevent it using its reserves to prop up the ruble.

The official said that the administration would also target “Golden passports” that “allow wealthy Russians connected to the Russian Government to become citizens in certain countries, and gain access to our financial systems. Any current or future sanctioned individual trying to flee the impact of our sanctions by buying their way into western citizenship will be forced to endure the consequences of supporting Putin’s war of choice.”

The final list of Russian banks that are de-Swifted will be determined by the EU as the system is under Belgian jurisdiction.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in