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The ambassadors of the European Union have reached a consensus to block seven Russian banks from the SWIFT payments-messaging system, Bloomberg reported citing sources.  

Russian government-backed VTB Bank and Bank Rossiya are among those that will be blocked from the SWIFT, the sources said.

Other banks that are included in the list by EU are Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank PJSC, Sovcombank PJSC and VEB.RF, they added.

Notably, Sberbank, the largest Russian bank, and Gazprombank, which is partly owned by Russian gas major Gazprom, were not included in the list.

Some nations, including Poland, had advocated banning more banks from the financial messaging system.

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The measures come in response to Moscow’s military operation against Ukraine and are expected to be implemented soon.

The ban will come in force ten days after adoption, the sources said adding that a major member wanted that period to be 30 days.

Russia is a leading energy exporter in the world and cutting Sberbank and Gazprombank off the SWIFT is a concern for Europe.

As per Wall Street Journal’s report, countries including Germany are in favour of keeping some Russian banks on SWIFT to allow them to pay for energy imports and other essential transfers.

Sberbank, which holds nearly half of Russia’s deposits and caters to over 100 million retail customers, is said to have twice as many assets as any other lender in the country.