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February 28, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 2:28pm

Ukraine crisis: US and allies agree to cut off Russian banks from SWIFT

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The US and its allies have decided to impose harsher sanctions on Russia’s financial system amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

The sanctions include blocking selected Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system to harm their global operability.

Additionally, the group has decided to impose restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank to prevent it from countering the sanctions from the West using its international reserves.

“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 leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US said in a joint statement.

The “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication” or SWIFT is a global network used by banks for cross-border transactions.

The list of banks that will be cut off from the SWIFT network was not revealed but citing a senior US administration official Reuters said a list will be finalised and banks already under sanctions will be considered first.

The news comes after the West imposed severe sanctions on Russian banks including Sberbank, VTB Bank, Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank OJSC, and Novikombank.

“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,” the news agency quoted SWIFT as saying.