UK wants to cut Russia off from SWIFT: defense minister

Reuters

Posted at Feb 25 2022 05:27 PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image is displayed on a screen next to the Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 25, 2022. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image is displayed on a screen next to the Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 25, 2022. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters

LONDON - Britain would like to cut off Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payments system and will continue to lobby reluctant allies to take that step, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Friday.

"We would like to go further, we'd like to do the SWIFT system - that is the financial system that allows the Russians to move money around the world to receive payments for its gas - but ... these are international organizations and if not every country wants them to be thrown out of the SWIFT system, it becomes difficult," Wallace told BBC TV.

US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that United States and the European Union have opted not to cut Russia off from SWIFT, but he said they could revisit that issue.

On Thursday, major western countries including the United States and Britain announced sanctions on Russia, stretching from its banks to elites, in response to Russia invading Ukraine after months of diplomatic dialogue failed to bear fruit.

Wallace said Britain would continue to lobby its allies to win support for a move on SWIFT.

"We will work all the magic, do everything we can in diplomacy," he said.

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