As it meets to decide sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the EU is divided over whether to cut Russia off from SWIFT, a high-security payment network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.
According to a CNN report “senior EU sources have told CNN that there is a divide in the member states between countries like Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who want SWIFT as part of the sanctions package that will be announced later today, and the likes of Germany, Italy, Hungary and Cyprus, who have stronger economic ties to Russia and do not want SWIFT included in the new sanctions.”
It appears that economic interests will prevail and that the EU will not include SWIFT in its package of sanctions, according to an unnamed “senior EU diplomat” quoted by CNN.
Politicians from frontline states who feel most acutely Russian aggression have reacted angrily to this self-serving obstruction.
“The West can’t shut down Swift because (let’s name them) Germany, Hungary, Italy and Cyprus don’t care about the invasion or the Ukrainian dead. Can they at least sanction the banks and companies the US is sanctioning? And the heads of those companies? Or is that too hard?” tweeted former Estonian President (2006 – 16) Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
“I will not be diplomatic on this. Everyone who now doubts whether Russia should be banned from SWIFT has to understand that the blood of innocent Ukrainian men, women and children will be on their hands too. BAN RUSSIA FROM SWIFT,” added Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba.
Banning Russia from SWIFT would make it almost impossible for financial institutions to send money in our out of the country, crippling Russian businesses’ ability to transact with foreign customers.