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May 4, 2022

EU to de-SWIFT three Russian lenders including Sberbank

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The European Union’s chief executive has proposed the sixth package of sanctions against Russia that target Sberbank along with two other Russian banks. 

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “We de-SWIFT Sberbank – by far Russia’s largest bank, and two other major banks.”

“By that, we hit banks that are systemically critical to the Russian financial system and Putin’s ability to wage destruction. This will solidify the complete isolation of the Russian financial sector from the global system,” she added.

Leyen did not reveal the names of the two other lenders that will be cut off from the SWIFT.

Four EU diplomats told POLITICO that other than Sberbank, the commission will remove Credit Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agricultural Bank from the global payments messaging system.

Government-backed Sberbank was not subject to sanctions from the EU because it plays a key role in processing payments for Russian energy imports. 

Notably, as part of the new package of sanctions the EC chief also proposed a phased ban on Russian oil imports.

“We now propose a ban on Russian oil. This will be a complete import ban on all Russian oil, seaborne and pipeline, crude and refined,” she said. 

The move is aimed at increasing the economic pressure on Moscow in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Before it can come into force, the proposal will require approval from member states of the EU. 

Last month, the EU imposed full blocking sanctions on four key Russian banks as of the fifth round of sanctions.  

The announcement followed the EU’s decision to cut off seven Russian lenders from SWIFT. 

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