The UK government is to urge European Union nations to expel Russian banks from the Swift financial messaging network, amid rising tensions over the crisis in Ukraine. UK prime minister David Cameron is to table a motion on Russian access to Swift at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
According to media reports, the UK will urge EU leaders to consider blocking Russian access to Swift under an expansion of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The exclusion of Russian banks from Swift could potentially have serious consequences for global trade flows and transaction banking. Russia’s government has already drafted a bill to create a new Russian system for domestic bank transfers.
Tensions between Russia and the West have risen sharply in recent months, with the US government imposing sanctions on several Russian banks. In response, the Russian government placed restrictions on Visa and MasterCard’s operations in the country and is forging ahead with plans to establish a domestic payment system