Russian banks may be blocked from using SWIFT, a payment system that enables reliable and secure financial transactions, as part of restrictions against Moscow, in what one official has called a potential “spiral of sanctions,” according to Russia Today.
“It’s no secret that there are threats, primarily from the United States, to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system,” said Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Economic Cooperation Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
However, the senior official doesn’t think America will act on this threat any time soon.
“I’m actually confident that we won’t be disconnected from SWIFT anytime soon, and maybe never,” he said, noting that Russia would be able to come to payment agreements with their trading partners anyway.
Since 2014, Russia has been working on its own payment system. This system already exists,” he explained. “We all use the MIR card. It is also accepted in a number of neighboring countries and in Turkey. Negotiations are also underway with other partners.”
In March 2021, politicians from the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution to condemn what they called Russia’s “military posturing close to the country’s border with Ukraine.” The MEPs agreed that, “should military build-up lead to an invasion,” Moscow should be excluded from SWIFT, along with other economic measures.
Proposals to cut Moscow off from the world’s leading international payment system are not new. After seven years of threats, Russia is now in a position where losing access to SWIFT would no longer be a disastrous blow. The country has created its own alternative, called SPFS, which works domestically, and Moscow is looking to expand the system internationally, Russia Today says.
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