WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States, Britain, Europe and Canada on Saturday moved to block Russia’s access to the SWIFT international payment system as part of another round of sanctions against Moscow as it continues its assault against Ukraine.
The measures, which will also include restriction on the Russian central bank’s international reserves, will be implemented in the coming days, the nations said in a joint statement.
“We commit to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive, said in a statement to the media.
“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.”
She said that cutting Russian banks off the system will stop them from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports.
She said allies would stop Russia from “using its war chest,” paralysing the assets of its central bank, freezing its transactions and making it impossible for the central bank to liquidate its assets.
“Finally, we will work to prohibit Russian oligarchs from using their financial assets on our markets,” she said.
EU foreign ministers will discuss the sanctions package at a virtual meeting on Sunday evening, the fourth time they come together in a week.
(Reporting by John Chalmers and Sabine Siebold in Brussels; Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, David Morgan and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)