White House Denies Report Saying US & EU Rule Out Russia's Disconnection From SWIFT
18:29 GMT 17.01.2022 (Updated: 19:13 GMT 17.01.2022)
© AFP 2022 / SAMUEL CORUMThe U.S. Capitol Building is seen past the Washington Monument as people walk around the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall as the sun sets on November 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden returned to Washington after spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with family in Nantucket and immediately met with members of his medical team to discuss the newly discovered Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Earlier, Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper reported, citing German government sources, that Western governments are no longer considering cutting Russian banks off from the SWIFT global payments system.
The White House has denied a report saying that the US and EU have abandoned their plans to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system as part of restrictive measures that would be imposed if Russia invades Ukraine.
The US does not rule out such a possibility, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said, quoted by the presidential pool.
He added that Washington has remained in close contact with its European colleagues concerning possible grave consequences for Russia should it invade Ukraine.
This comes after earlier on Monday, Handelsblatt reported, citing German government sources, that the West was no longer opting for blocking Russia from SWIFT and was mulling economic sanctions against major Russian banks as an alternative.
Based in Belgium, SWIFT is a vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly and securely send and receive money transfer instructions.
Russia has repeatedly rejected speculations in Western media about its alleged plans to invade Ukraine and stressed that it has the right to relocate troops within its territory at its own discretion. Moscow also repeatedly emphasised that NATO's military activity near its borders poses a threat to the country’s security.