Russian Banks Denied Access to Swift; Biden Sanctions Putin

As the conflict in Ukraine continued to escalate over the weekend, President Biden and several world leaders agreed to block certain Russian banks from accessing the Swift global messaging system. In a joint statement released by the White House on Saturday, leaders noted that removal from Swift “will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.” They also committed to “restrictive measures” against the Russian central bank, additional punitive actions against Russian oligarchs and greater coordination on sanctions enforcement and combatting the spreading of disinformation and “other forms of hybrid warfare.”

These actions mark the latest in a series of steps taken against the Russian Federation over its invasion of Ukraine. On Friday, President Biden announced sanctions against Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov.

As a result of these sanctions, “all property and interests in property of the individuals above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked,” the Treasury Department said in a press release. “All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt.”

Last week, the president announced sanctions against several large Russian banks and several individuals with close ties to Putin.