In what was seen as a significant step by Western allies, leaders have agreed to cut certain Russian banks from global financial messaging service SWIFT.

The sanctions imposed further tighten the economic steps taken by leaders, as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues.  

The US, UK and European Union (EU) announced in a joint statement: “We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people in their heroic efforts to resist Russia’s invasion.

“Russia’s war represents an assault on fundamental international rules and norms that have prevailed since the Second World War, which we are committed to defending.”

The sanctions against Russia banks from SWIFT will prevent selected banks from running global financial transactions and essentially blocking Russian exports and imports. 

Furthermore, it is through the impact of the sanctions won’t only be felt in Russian, but will also impact Europe where there is a level of reliance upon Russian exports, however, in terms of economic sanctions, the inclusion of SWIFT is cited as being one of the most hard-hitting to Putin and Russia. 

The UK and Germany are believed to be affected heavily by the sanctions than other Western countries. 

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), is responsible for facilitating billions of currencies for more than 110,000 international banks per day. 

SWIFT commented on the sanctions: “We are engaging with European authorities to understand the details of the entities that will be subject to the new measures and we are preparing to comply upon legal instruction.”

“As Russian forces unleash their assault on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, we are resolved to continue imposing massive costs on Russia,” stated Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. 

“Costs that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies.”

UK prime minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed the UK’s stance on the imposed sanctions via Twitter this past weekend. 

The UK government also released a statement today, underling that working in tandem with the EU and the US, it will continue to focus on economic sanctions, as it targets the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. 

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated: “These measures demonstrate our determination to apply severe economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We are announcing this action in rapid coordination with our US and European allies to move in lock step once more with our international partners, to demonstrate our steadfast resolve in imposing the highest costs on Russia and to cut her off from the international financial system so long as this conflict persists.”

A UK government statement emphasised that imminent measures will look to ‘prevent the CBR from deploying its foreign reserves in ways that undermine the impact of sanctions imposed by the UK and its allies’.

Furthermore, looking to continue to halt Russian engagement with foreign exchange exchange transactions that support the Russian rouble.

The Governor of the Bank of England added on the steps: “The Bank of England continues to take any and all actions needed to support the Government’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We welcome the steps taken today by the UK Government, in coordination with EU and US authorities, as an important and powerful demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the international rule of law.”