Anti-Russia sanctions are threat to Ukraine too – former Kiev minister
Should the West follow through on its threats to shut Russia off from the SWIFT financial transaction system, Ukraine would soon also feel the sting and be left in a difficult position, Kiev’s former economy minister has cautioned.
Speaking as part of an appearance on Ukraine’s Channel 4 on Thursday, Viktor Suslov, who served in the government from 1997-1998, set out how disconnecting Moscow from the global payment service would impact its neighbor.
“If we transport gas and Russia cannot pay for it, will Ukraine transit for free? Of course not,” he explained. According to the politician, support from the International Monetary Fund would not save Kiev, because cash alone cannot replace gas or nuclear fuel.
Suslov went on, adding that tensions between the two former Soviet republics “should be solved through diplomatic negotiations.”
His remarks come amid threats from the West to punish Moscow if its troops were to invade Ukraine, despite the Kremlin repeatedly insisting it has no plans to stage an incursion. In December, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that no one would benefit if the world’s largest country was locked out of the payment system.
“They only screw themselves over, as they say,” he explained, pointing out that “Russia is a participant in the global market.” The minister also said the move would hinder European companies that actively trade with Moscow, as well as consumers of its hydrocarbons.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Economic Cooperation Department, Dmitry Birichevsky, also doubted the logistics of cutting Russia off from SWIFT, given that it is run by a private international company headquartered in Belgium, and there is no clear mechanism for American officials to persuade it to do so.
In December, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland revealed that Washington, alongside a number of its partners in Western Europe, is considering isolating Moscow from the global financial system in the event of a full-blown offensive against Ukraine.
Just the day before Nuland’s threat, news outlet Bloomberg published a report which suggested that the US could target major Russian banks and even disconnect Moscow from SWIFT.
In December, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping had stressed during talks the need to develop shared financial structures which foreign states will be unable to influence.