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Western allies agree to cut select Russian banks from global financial messaging system SWIFT

Western allies have agreed to remove selected Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system.

In a joint statement, leaders of Europe, UK, US, and Canada, said the move was in response to Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine late last week.

The group said: “We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people in their heroic efforts to resist Russia’s invasion.

“Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending.

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“We will hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this way is a strategic failure for Putin.”

The statement listed a number of financial sanctions which it said would be implemented “within the coming days”.

Cutting Russian banks from SWIFT will stop them from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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Other measures include:

• “Restrictive measures” preventing the Russian Central Bank from “deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions”

• Acting against the people and entities who facilitate the war in Ukraine and the “harmful activities of the Russian government”. This includes limiting the sale of citizenship “golden passports” which let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of Western countries with consequent access to financial systems

• Launching a trans-Atlantic taskforce to make sure the sanctions are effective

• Stepping up coordination against disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare

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