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EU excludes 7 Russian banks from SWIFT

March 2, 2022

The bloc's sanctions to exclude seven Russian banks from the SWIFT global payments system have come into force. The targeted institutions have 10 days to phase out their operations with the network.

The SWIFT logo
The SWIFT system connects more than 11,000 banks, financial institutions and corporations around the worldImage: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/REUTERS

The European Union has formally implemented sanctions excluding seven Russian financial institutions from the SWIFT network, the EU official journal said Wednesday.

The move aims to hurt Russia economically over its decision to invade Ukraine.  

The measure targets⁠ Russia's second-largest bank VTB, as well as Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank, Sovcombank and Vnesheconombank. 

Two major Russian banks, Sberbank and Gazprombank, were not on the list because they are the main facilitators of payments for EU gas and oil imports.

The seven banks have a 10-day transition period to wind down their SWIFT operations.

Explainer: What is SWIFT?

The SWIFT system moves billions of dollars around more than 11,000 banks and other financial institutions worldwide on a daily basis.

Along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, the EU last week announced its plans to cut some Russian institutions off from SWIFT. The Western allies also agreed to impose "restrictive measures" on Russia's Central Bank.

At the time, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the sanctions would "significantly harm [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's ability to finance his war and they will have a severely eroding impact on his economy."

SWIFT ban to have 'material impact' on Russia

nm/rt (Reuters, AFP)