00:32 GMT18 June 2021
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    Earlier, Moscow said it saw the threat of being unplugged from the global financial messaging service SWIFT as "hypothetical" but is assessing possible consequences, after the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution that calls for tougher anti-Russia sanctions, including the country's disconnection from the SWIFT payment system.

    Threats are coming from the US with regard to the SWIFT interbank payment system, which could get tangled up in the anti-Russia "sanctions spiral," head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Economic Cooperation (DEC) Dmitry Birichevsky told Sputnik.

    "It is no secret for anyone that threats are being heard, primarily from the United States, to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system," Birichevsky said.

    He told Sputnik that the anti-Russia sanctions introduced by Western states are just a tool used to create barriers in order to protect their own producers and protect their own interests in the world arena.

    "There are fears that the SWIFT system may be involved in this ‘sanctions spiral,’" Birichevsky warned.

    There are currently no signs of any plans to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT interbank payment system, but Russia is preparing in case of such a scenario and has started developing an alternative, he told Sputnik.

    "Such work has already been started," Birichevsky said, asked about the possibility of a SWIFT analogue in Russia.

    "So far, as we understand, there has been no talk of this, but it is absolutely necessary to prepare, given the unpredictability of the situation. Russia has been doing this for quite a long time, since it is an objective necessity," Birichevsky told Sputnik.

    In late April, European lawmakers passed a new resolution, in which they proposed excluding Russia from the SWIFT payment system, banning the import of oil and gas from Russia, and seizing the assets of all "oligarchs" close to the Russian authorities, should Russia conduct an "invasion of Ukraine."

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also told Sputnik that Russia has a basis for creating an analogue of the SWIFT payment system.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Sochi, Russia May 24, 2021.
    © REUTERS / Russian Foreign Ministry
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Sochi, Russia May 24, 2021.

    "The basis [of an alternative to SWIFT] exists. And I am convinced that both the government and the Central Bank should do everything to make this basis reliable and guaranteeing complete independence and safeguard against damage that someone may try to additionally inflict upon us," Lavrov said.

    Earlier this month, first deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, said that the bank did not see any risks of disconnecting the country from SWIFT, but if such a scenario were to be implemented, it would be possible to transfer internal Russian traffic to the Financial Messaging System of the Bank of Russia (SPFS).

    Tags:
    financial system, payment system, Russia
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