Russia's largest bank gets booted from SWIFT in latest sanction hit

Russia’s largest bank gets booted from SWIFT in latest sanction hit

Russia’s largest bank will be removed from the SWIFT international banking system in the latest round of international sanctions announced by the European Union late Monday.

Sberbank, which encompasses 37 percent of the Russian banking sector, will no longer be allowed to utilize the international program – effectively cutting it off from global financial networks.

SWIFT not only allows banks worldwide to securely and efficiently communicate with one another but it also facilitates trillions of dollars worth of cross-border transactions. 

A woman leaves a branch of Russia’s majority state-owned banking and financial services company Sberbank in Moscow on April 7, 2022. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Ukrainian officials have been calling for Russia’s complete ban from SWIFT since the onslaught of the war, but U.S. and EU officials have been hesitant to cripple Russia’s economy through this method. 

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called the decision a “good” move in a late-night address Monday before announcing other areas where Russia will be sanctioned.

Moscow will also see a blockade on nearly 90 percent of its oil exports to European nations by the end of the year.

“This is an important step forward,” von der Leyen said. “We will soon return to the issue of the remaining 10 percent.”

Three Russian media outlets were also targeted for “broadly” spreading misinformation regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Banners expressing solidarity with Ukraine are seen at the square in front of the Consulate General of Russia which was unofficially named the Square of Free Ukraine after Russian agression. Krakow, Poland, on March 30, 2022.  (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The latest round of sanctions will be the sixth package the EU has hit Moscow with as it attempts to cripple Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly campaign.

The EU chief additionally pledged to provide financial aid to Ukraine, which needs roughly €5 billion a month to provide salaries, pensions and “basic services.”

The G7 has agreed to provide $9.5 billion so far, $7.5 of which is being provided by the US along with another $1 billion in German grants. 

“But we think that, of course, the European Union has to carry its fair share, too,” von der Leyen said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “Therefore, we are working on a mechanism to have an extraordinary macro-financial assistance package of €9 billion.”

Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission held a press conference with Charles Michel President of the European Council while answering questions to the media, after the special EU summit on May 30, 2022. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The EU will also look to establish a platform to assist in the reconstruction of Ukraine by combining international investments from initiatives like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the G20, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and various international efforts.

“It is important that we really stand together to give Ukraine a fair chance to rise from the ashes and to be able to really leapfrog forward what reconstruction is concerned in investment, but also in the improvement of the state of Ukraine,” von der Leyen said. 

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