In an announcement late Saturday afternoon, the White House said, in concert with of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, the US is backing the expulsion of certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world, and pledged efforts to “collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin.”
“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,” they wrote in a joint statement, also pledging “restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions,” and restricting the sale of “golden passports” that allow Russian oligarchs to avoid the brunt of sanctions already levied.
Earlier Saturday, CNN reported Biden was considering expelling Russia from SWIFT, but had yet to make a final decision. Fully expelling Russia from SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, has been presented as a financial “nuclear option," with the president and aides highlighting how complicated the move would be. They also noted the US cannot move unilaterally to expel Russia.
“That’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take,” Biden told reporters Thursday.
In addition, the nations announced the launch, later this week, of a “transatlantic task force” to “ensure the effective implementation of our financial sanctions by identifying and freezing the assets of sanctioned individuals and companies that exist within our jurisdictions.”
As part of Saturday’s announcement, they also promised to step up efforts to combat misinformation.
We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour. Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine.”