How a SWIFT ban would and wouldn’t hurt Russia


A Russian ruble with the spires of the Kremlin in the background. PHOTO/AFP

US-EU block of Russia’s access to fund transfer system would certainly sting but could force wider adoption of Moscow’s alternative SPFS

Sanctions and countersanctions are the new norm in the escalating Cold War pitting the United States and Russia. While Western-backed Ukraine prepares for a potential Russian invasion, Moscow now awaits Washington and Brussels to introduce new restrictions on its financial institutions.

While Russia masses troops near the Ukrainian border, and Kiev conducts inspections of the capital’s bomb shelters, it is still highly doubtful a major war will break out this winter.

Still, the US and EU are expected to continue imposing sanctions on Russia, not least a possible block on Russia’s access to SWIFT – the vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to make fast money transfer instructions worldwide.

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