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EU, UK, Canada, US pledge to remove selected Russian banks from interbank messaging system SWIFT

Russian President Vladimir Putin enters the St. George Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow.
Mikhail Klimentyev | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON –The United States, European allies and Canada agreed Saturday to remove Russia from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT.

“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,” the global powers wrote in a joint statement announcing the significant retaliatory measure.

Moscow’s exclusion from SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, means Russian banks cannot communicate securely with banks beyond its borders. Iran was removed from SWIFT in 2014 following developments to Tehran’s nuclear program.

SWIFT is an independent enterprise based in Belgium that serves as an internal messaging system between more than 11,000 banks and financial institutions in over 200 countries and territories.

The stunning announcement follows the multiple rounds of joint sanctions imposed against Russia for its unprovoked assault on Ukraine.

On Friday, the United States alongside the United Kingdom and the European Union announced stunning sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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