European Commission removes Russian banks from cross-border SWIFT network

The European Commission has announced the removal of a number of Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging system, with the aim of hindering Russia’s capacity to make cross-border payments.

In a joint statement released by the European Commission, leaders from France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States emphasized their shared interest in defending Ukraine from the war against Russia:

“We will hold Russia to account and work together to ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”

While condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to besiege Ukraine, the European Commission commits to taking a series of measures to isolate Russia from the international financial system.

EU Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen announced five proactive measures against Russian authorities, starting with the removal of an undisclosed number of Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system.

In addition to severing Russia’s ties with SWIFT, the European Commission will “cripple the Russian central bank’s assets”, creating a new financial barrier for the Russian central bank to liquidate assets. As for the third measure, the European Commission stated:

“We commit to taking measures to limit the sale of citizenships – the so-called golden passports – allowing wealthy Russians with ties to the Russian government to become citizens of our countries and access our financial systems.”

The EU commission will soon launch a transatlantic task force to ensure effective implementation of all sanctions, the primary aim of which is to freeze the overseas assets of Russian officials, elites and their relatives. As a fifth measure, the Commission plans to strengthen coordination against disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare.

Related: Crypto Could Get Around President Biden’s ‘Devastating’ Sanctions Against Russian Banks and Elites: Report

As global markets continue to impose new financial restrictions on Russia, a Feb. 24 CoinTelegraph report shows how Russian billionaires could evade sanctions from world leaders by using cryptocurrencies.

“If a wealthy person fears that their accounts could be frozen due to sanctions, they can simply keep their wealth in Bitcoin to be protected from such actions.”

With Russian banks at risk of being banned from SWIFT’s international financial network, crypto could hold the key for wealthy individuals to evade sanctions. Quantum Economics founder and CEO Mati Greenspan said:

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