SOCHI, September 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has expressed hope that Russia will not be excluded from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) financial transaction system, though the government is preparing for such a situation.
"I do not expect SWIFT to do it [exclude Russia] because it is madness, it is a 'military' action, really. Surely, we will be taking steps to protect our banking system in this situation," Ulyukayev told journalists at the International Investment Forum 2014 in Sochi.
"I do not think it will really happen, but we have to be ready even for the most unlikely scenario," he added.
On Thursday, the European Parliament called on EU countries to consider excluding Russia from the financial transaction system. In spring 2014, the Russian government already began to seek ways to decrease its financial market's dependence on SWIFT.
SWIFT links more than 10,500 financial entities in 215 countries. The system allows financial institutions and corporations to exchange financial data in a secure and reliable way and facilitates the cooperation of the financial community.
SWIFT is headquartered in Belgium, with offices around the world, including Russia, where the organization has been based for 25 years. The society itself said there are no problems with SWIFT operations in Russia at the moment, calling its work in the country "business as usual."