US, Europe to remove some Russian banks from SWIFT

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The White House has announced that the US, joined by European nations and Canada, will remove some Russian banks from SWIFT, the payment system used for most international financial transactions.

This is a major move to escalate the West’s economic sanctions against Moscow for its ongoing military operations in Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.

The White House on Saturday said in a joint statement that in concert with the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, UK and Canada, the US is supporting the expulsion of “selected Russian banks” from SWIFT “within the coming days”, so as to “further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies.”

Kicking those Russian banks out of SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions worldwide, “will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,” said the statement.

In addition, restrictive measures will be imposed to “prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves” in ways that undermine the impact of the Western sanctions, said the statement.

Measures will also be taken to limit the sale of the so-called “golden passports” to prevent “wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government” from becoming citizens of the aforementioned countries and to ensure that those individuals are unable to “gain access to our financial systems.”

The leaders of those countries also vowed to launch in this coming week a joint task force to enforce the implementation of the financial sanctions.

The joint statement also called on other governments to “detect and disrupt” the flow of those Russian elites’ gains and deny their ability to hide their assets in jurisdictions across the world.

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