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Japan joins EU and US in blocking Russian SWIFT banks. “Reckless acts of violence have a high price”


Japan’s new punitive measures include a freeze on the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials in his executive branch, as well as blocking the accounts of a number of Russian companies and financial institutions.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday announced additional sanctions aimed at “showing Russia that its reckless acts of violence have a high price,” Agerpres reported.

“The international community’s relations with Russia can no longer be the same as before,” added Kishida, who again condemned Russia’s “aggression” against Ukraine.

The world’s third largest economy joins leaders from the EU, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, who issued a joint statement pledging co-ordination to take restrictive action against Russia.

The exclusion of Russian entities from the Society for Global Interbank Financial Telecommunications – SWIFT comes after intense consultations that have taken place in recent days between the US and European countries, some of which have had doubts about the measure.

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The SWIFT transaction system is the basis of the global financial architecture and is used by 11,000 banks in 200 countries or territories to make transfers.

According to a Reuters analysis, the decision by Western allies to block access to some Russian banks in the SWIFT payment system will deal an extremely severe economic blow, affecting both Russian companies and the entire economy.

Russian banks, which have been denied access to SWIFT, will find it more difficult to communicate with colleagues internationally, even in friendly countries such as China, slowing down international trade and making transactions more expensive.

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Excluding banks from SWIFT could encourage “moving” Russian companies and entities to the services of unsanctioned banks in an attempt to gain access to the global financial system, an expert said, adding that the impact is likely to be devastating for the Russian economy and markets.

Sanctions could hit the ruble sharply as early as Monday with the opening of markets, said Sergey Aleksashenko, a former vice president of Russia’s central bank. This would lead to the disappearance of many imports by Russia, he added.

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