Prime Minister to push for Russia to ban Swift banking system after Ukraine invasion

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The Prime Minister is pushing to exclude Russia from the Swift system, a sort of international banking code, after Vladimir Putin launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the government would work with its G7 and NATO allies to limit Russian banks’ access to the system.

“There are a range of views on this and we recognize that it is a challenge,” the spokesperson said.

“That’s certainly the Prime Minister’s intention – he thinks it’s the right thing to do.”

On Thursday, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer renewed his calls for Swift to be banned from the House of Commons.

Addressing MPs, Sir Keir called for the “toughest possible sanctions” against Vladimir Putin’s regime.

“He must be isolated, his finances frozen, his ability to function paralyzed. This means excluding Russia from financial mechanisms like Swift and prohibiting trading in Russian sovereign debt,” he said.

Mr Johnson said: “I know this House will be very interested in the possibility of cutting Russia off from Swift. I can confirm, as I have always said, that nothing is on the table.

Proponents say excluding Putin and his banks from the system will have a huge impact on their ability to operate overseas.

The Swift system is set up to allow individuals or businesses to accept payments by card or electronically even if they do not use the same bank.

Each bank receives a unique identification number, which identifies the country in which it is located, as well as the city and bank branch.

Russia’s withdrawal would not prevent the country’s banks from making cross-border payments, but would make it much more complex and expensive. It would also make it harder for the country to sell its oil and gas, which make up a large part of its trade.

Iranian banks were cut from the system because of the country’s nuclear program in 2012 before being reconnected in 2016 when relations thawed.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned that his country and the EU would not support such an important decision, the Financial Times reported.

The EU is still working on a united line on whether to close Russia to Swift, with some more inclined than others.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, called for Russia to be blocked from Swift, echoing his president’s views.

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