EU excludes seven Russian banks from SWIFT

EU excludes seven Russian banks from SWIFT

The European Union is excluding seven Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system that underpins global transactions as part of its sanctions over Russia's special operation in Ukraine, the EU official journal said on Wednesday.

The banks, which will be given 10 days to wind-down their SWIFT operations, are Russia's second-largest bank VTB, along with Bank Otrkitie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, Sovcombank and VEB.

Sberbank, Russia's largest lender, and Gazprombank have not been included in the list because they are the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas, which EU countries are still buying despite the conflict.

The EU official said it was not possible simply to allow energy-related transactions and exclude others as SWIFT was unable to differentiate between types of payments. The official added that these two banks were nevertheless subject to other measures.

The European Union, United States, Britain and Canada moved on Saturday to block certain Russian banks from SWIFT, although did not say at that point which banks would be hit.