Prior to and during Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, numerous sanctions have been discussed by United States officials and allies from around the world. One sanction that has largely been spoken of as a last resort would be to remove Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).
According to the organization’s website, SWIFT is “the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services,” and Axios reports that “more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions” use SWIFT services.
On Saturday, the United States and multiple other nations announced via a joint statement that they will be implementing a SWIFT sanction on multiple Russian banks, in addition to other actions:
First, we commit to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.
Second, we commit to imposing restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions.
In addition to the removal of certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the statement goes on to say that the named countries will not tolerate any persons or entities helping to facilitate Russia’s actions, and will thus be limiting “golden passports,” which might allow “wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems.”
The statement continues by detailing a “transatlantic task force” that will “ensure the effective implementation of our financial sanctions.”
Lastly, the named countries promised to “step up or coordination against disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare.”
“We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour,” the statement concludes. “Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine.”
The full statement from the United States and its allies can be read here.
On Thursday, the United States released a list of sanctions to be imposed on Russia, including cutting off Russia’s largest financial institution, Sberbank, from the U.S. financial system, full-blocking multiple other financial institutions, full-blocking named Russian elites, and cutting off the import of certain technological products to Russia, among other restrictions.
Additionally, the United States announced that nations “that adopt substantially similar export restrictions are exempted from new U.S. licensing requirements for items produced in their countries.”
Numerous other nations have imposed sanctions on Russia, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.