- Russia is just a few steps closer to being ousted from the global banking system SWIFT.
- More EU countries, including Italy and Cyprus, voiced their support for the measure.
- Some countries initially opposed the move but changed their stance as the Ukraine crisis worsened.
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Russia could be one step closer to being expelled from the global banking system SWIFT as more EU countries said they support its rejection.
Countries vowed to impose harsh economic and financial sanctions after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning.
SWIFT, a Belgian communication system, was launched in 1973 to serve as a neutral platform for banks to talk about financial transfers, transactions and trades. Removing Russia could be economically disastrous, as Insider’s Ben Wink pointed out.
The service connects more than 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries and territories. According to Bloomberg, it hosted an average of 42 million messages a day in 2021.
Despite initial opposition, some countries have begun to change their views on opposing Russia’s removal from SWIFT.
For example, Germany’s foreign minister said earlier on Friday that she did not believe sanctions were the best course of action, per Reuters. But the news agency suggested Germany soften its stance later on Friday, noting that Finance Minister Christian Lindner said: “We are open, but you have to know what you are doing.”
Along with Germany, countries that have encouraged the SWIFT ban include Italy, Cyprus and Hungary.
Successfully blocking Moscow from the SWIFT system would require an agreement between the 27 EU countries.
In tweets on Saturday, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dimitro Kuleba, discussed the support of EU countries for swift sanctions for Russia.
Enrico Letta, former Prime Minister of Italy, also Confirmed News in a tweet.
This was followed by a tweet explaining the situation in Cyprus. kuleba said: “We did it. Cyprus confirmed that it will not block the decision to ban Russia from SWIFT.”
Cyprus Finance Minister Konstantinos Petrids addressed the move, while tellingIn the name of the unity and solidarity of the European Union #ukrainian People #cyprus Swift has not objected to any EU sanctions, including cutting Russia off. Everything is on the table.”
Hungarian’s position was also clarified by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. She said Saturday: “Today I spoke again with Hungarian Prime Minister V. Orban. And he once again assured me of his support for far-reaching sanctions against Russia. Also about blocking the SWIFT system.”
The move to pull Russia out of the SWIFT system is backed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, per Bloomberg. However, the US is yet to equalize its support for such a move.