SWIFT preparing to disconnect Russia
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) announced on Saturday that it was preparing to comply with orders from Western powers to disconnect Russia from its system.
In a statement to Reuters, SWIFT said it was “engaging with European authorities to understand the details of the entities that will be subject to the new measures” and was “preparing to comply upon legal instruction.”
The European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States issued a statement on Saturday announcing that “selected Russian banks” would be “removed from the SWIFT messaging system” in response to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
The Western powers also announced that the Russian Central Bank would be prevented “from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact” of their sanctions.
Several years ago, after members of NATO previously considered disconnecting Russia from SWIFT, Moscow warned at the time that such a decision would be seen as a declaration of war.
Former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in 2019 that disconnecting Russia from SWIFT would be akin to “a blow in the stomach” and would be “essentially a declaration of war.”