The European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States have agreed to exclude selected Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system within days, which will not only significantly reduce Russia’s access to foreign financial markets, but also make it more difficult to finance exports and imports.
“In coordination with the US, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and the UK, I will propose new measures to European Union leaders to strengthen the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in order to cripple Putin‘s ability to finance the war machine,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said before midnight on Saturday.
Von der Leyen specified the form of the measure, saying that selected Russian banks would be cut off from the international payment system SWIFT. “This will prevent them from operating worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports,” the European Commission president added.
But Western leaders also agreed to paralyse the assets of the Russian central bank. “This will freeze its transactions and make it impossible for the (Russian) central bank to transfer its assets,” Ursula von der Leyen stressed on Twitter. The confluence of the two measures will almost cut Russia off from the world economy.