The European Commission announced it will remove a number of Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) messaging system. The move is aimed at hindering Russia’s capacity to carry out cross-border payments.
A joint statement released by the European Commission and leaders from France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States highlights the shared interest in defending Ukraine from Russia:
“We will hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”
In addition to condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to attack Ukraine, the European Commission committed to undertaking a series of measures to isolate Russia from the international financial system.
European Commission President 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 system.
First, we commit to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from SWIFT.⁰— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 26, 2022
It will stop them from operating worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports.
In addition to cutting off Russia from SWIFT, the European Commission will “paralyze the assets of Russia’s central bank,” creating another financial barrier for the Central Bank of Russia to liquidate assets. As for the third measure, European Commission stated:
“We commit to taking measures to limit the sale of citizenship—so called golden passports—that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems.”
The European Commission will soon launch a transatlantic task force to ensure the effective implementation of all the sanctions, which primarily aim to freeze the overseas assets of Russian officials, elites and their family members. As a fifth measure, the Commission plans to increase coordination against disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare.
As nations around the globe continue to impose new financial restrictions on Russia, Cointelegraph highlighted on Thursday that Russian billionaires could potentially circumvent any sanctions put forth by world leaders by using cryptocurrencies.
One thing to listen for this afternoon is whether these sanctions will include barring Russia from the SWIFT messaging system, which would cut it off from almost all international financial transactions.— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) February 24, 2022
(Except crypto.) https://t.co/x952GNxbah
Now that Russian banks risk being barred from SWIFT’s international financial network, crypto may be the key for rich individuals to evade sanctions. Quantum Economics founder and CEO Mati Greenspan said:
“If a wealthy individual is concerned that their accounts may be frozen due to sanctions, they can simply hold their wealth in Bitcoin in order to be protected from such actions.”