The White House on Saturday said that the U.S., EU and U.K. have pledged to remove ‘selected’ Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging network, increasing sanctions on Moscow in the third day of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.
CNBC also reported that Canada agreed to remove Russia from the messaging system.
SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a payments-related messaging service based in Belgium that helps banks worldwide execute financial transactions.
Last week, President Joe Biden had said that SWIFT sanctions remained an option but suggested there was some European resistance to Russia’s removal from the network, when asked by reporters following his Thursday speech.
On Saturday, a joint letter written by the global powers indicated that Russia’s removal “would ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that momentum from the European Union grew toward cutting Russia out of SWIFT after other measures imposed by Western countries appeared to have little effect in persuading President Vladimir Putin to halt Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which spread into the weekend and targeted the capital Kyiv.
Some have worried that removing Russia from SWIFT could create economic problems among the many other countries that use the important payment messaging network.
The Associated Press contributed.