Brussels – The European Union said on Wednesday (02) that it is excluding seven Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging systemBut this did not include those working related to energy payments., In the latest sanctions imposed on Russia for attacking Ukraine. The European Union said in an official statement that VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, Bank Otrakiti, Novicombank, Promsvazbank, Bank Rossia, Sovcombank and VEB will have 10 days to terminate their SWIFT operations.
SWIFT is a messaging system that underpins global financial transactions, and the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada moved on Saturday to block some Russian banks, but did not say which ones. The US and Britain were pushing for a ban on SWIFT, but some countries in the eurozone needed to be persuaded given the region’s dependence on Russian energy exports.
SWIFT’s removal of Russian banks, which only a week ago was seen as drastic and impossible, It is one of the most powerful tools Western officials have used to punish Russia, which Moscow describes as a special operation in Ukraine. A top EU executive said the banks were selected on the basis of connections to the Russian state, a move already approved after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Russia’s largest banks Sberbank and Gazprombank were not included because they are the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas, which EU countries are still buying despite the conflict in Ukraine. The EU official said these two Russian banks, however, were subject to other measures.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonite said more Russian banks could be banned from SWIFT, which has 11,000 members. Officials are concerned about disruptions to energy flows in Europe and the official said it is not possible to allow energy-related transactions and exclude others because SWIFT cannot differentiate between payment types.