The United States and the European Union are no longer considering disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT international payment system if aggression against Ukraine intensifies, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reports, citing government sources.
“Americans and Europeans have been discussing how to react in the event of a Russian military operation against Ukraine for weeks. The EU is threatening the Kremlin with ‘massive consequences,’ but has not yet specified them,” the newspaper writes.
Handelsblatt reports that excluding Russia from the SWIFT system, which would essentially isolate it from global financial flows, is too strong a step for the negotiators.
“The step could lead to a destabilization of the financial markets in the short term and promote the development of an alternative payment infrastructure that is no longer dominated by the West in the medium term,” the newspaper notes.
Talks between the EU and the US are now focused on shaping targeted sanctions against major Russian banks. Germany is insisting on exceptions so that gas and oil imports from Russia can still be paid for.
Earlier, the European Parliament called to disconnect Russia from SWIFT if it would undertake new military actions against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the future leader of the Christian Democratic Union Friedrich Merz warned against the potential disconnection of Russia from SWIFT in the event of new aggression against Ukraine.
“If SWIFT is employed, it could become a ‘nuclear bomb’ … It will hit Russia, but it will seriously hurt us as well,” said the CDU leader.
According to him, Russia’s disconnection from SWIFT will hit not only Russia’s trade with European countries, but also global trade, and such a move “would actually break the backbone of the international payment system.”