The US and European countries have committed to removing’selected’ Russian banks from the SWIFT network

The United States and the European Union have revealed a proposal to exclude an unnamed group of Russian banks from the international payments messaging system SWIFT.

According to a Saturday statement, the group — which includes “the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States” — announced the move following days of growing speculation that such a move was imminent in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a reminder of how rapidly the situation is moving, even two days ago, insiders told major newswires that such a move was improbable. Nonetheless, recent reports highlighted the increasing possibility of reprisal in the form of SWIFT limitations.

SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a global payment messaging network that links hundreds of financial institutions. According to a Friday report by Al Jazeera, SWIFT is linked to more than 300 financial institutions in Russia.

The group said in their statement that “We agree to remove some Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system. This would effectively isolate these banks from the worldwide financial system, impairing their capacity to function on a global scale.”

Additionally, the organisation has threatened to take action against Russia’s central bank. “[W]e pledge to enacting stringent measures to prevent the Russian Central Bank from using its overseas reserves in ways that undermine the effectiveness of our sanctions.”

Additionally, other efforts, such as “measures to restrict the selling of citizenship” to affluent Russian nationals, were promised.

The decision comes as Ukraine’s conflict intensifies, notably in the capital city of Kyiv. As The Block reported on Saturday, the Ukrainian government has begun accepting bitcoin contributions to assist in funding the country’s military effort. As of press time, the donated funds totalled more than $4 million in bitcoin, ether, and other Ethereum-based assets.

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