US and European authorities issued joint statements on Saturday (February 26th) pledging to block certain Russian banks from the global payment and messaging network SWIFT, reinforcing the initial financial sanctions imposed last week.
The White House declaration pointed to the “tough measures” that were imposed on Russian institutions and banks last week, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin. But as Russian forces continued their assault, world leaders agreed it was time for further action.
“We are determined to continue to impose costs on Russia that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies,” the statement said.
See also: Why removing Russia from SWIFT won’t be easy
Several joint measures are on the table, agreed by the leaders of the United States, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada. The plan is to implement the measures in the coming days, starting with blocking, at least partially, Russian banks from SWIFT, the primary means of conducting financial transactions around the world.
“First, we are committed to ensuring that certain Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and will harm their ability to operate globally,” the statement said.
World leaders had a meeting of opinions on the SWIFT issue on Saturday after a compromise was reached and SWIFT was instructed to leave some Russian banks on the system to ensure the EU has a channel for energy payments and other critical transactions, the WSJ reported. .
Read more: Russia stays on SWIFT over fears of new payment system
EC President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would expel several banks in Russia from the SWIFT network, the WSJ reported.
“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and will harm their ability to operate globally,” von der Leyen said.
The countries would also prevent the Russian Central Bank from using its reserves to help the Russian economy. According to the Wall Street Journal, the country’s central bank has about $600 billion in reserves.