The European Commission has proposed to remove Russia’s top bank Sberbank (SBMX.MM) and two other banks from the SWIFT international payments system in a bid to cripple Russian financial system amid its ongoing war in Ukraine.
“We de-SWIFT Sberbank – by far Russia’s largest bank, and two other major banks. By that, we hit banks that are systemically critical to the Russian financial system and Putin’s ability to wage destruction,” Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told European Parliament. Other to banks include Credit Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agricultural Bank.
“This will solidify the complete isolation of the Russian financial sector from the global system,” she said. The EU’s reponse has been
Leyen also called on the 27-nation bloc to ban oil imports from Russia in the sixth package of sanctions targeting Moscow for its war in Ukraine, Associated Press reported.
“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimizes the impact on global markets,” von der Leyen said.
The proposals need to be unanimously approved to take effect and are likely to be the subject of fierce debate. Von der Leyen conceded that getting all 27 member countries some of them landlocked and highly dependent on Russia for energy supplies to agree on oil sanctions ‘will not be easy’. If approved, the ban on oil imports will be the second package of EU sanctions targeting Russia’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine Meanwhile, The EU has started discussions on a possible natural gas embargo, but consensus among member countries on targeting the fuel used to generate electricity and heat homes is more difficult to secure.