Days after President Putin warned the West of a "harsh" and "asymmetrical" response if it crosses Russia's 'red line' concerning NATO troop positioning and the recently renewed Ukraine standoff, the European Parliament in Brussels has proposed a new resolution to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT payment system.
Dated Wednesday, April 28, it's entitled, "European Parliament resolution on Russia, the case of Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine’s border and Russian attacks in the Czech Republic." The over 50 European Parliament lawmakers cited "aggression and continued destabilization of Ukraine, hostile behavior towards and outright attacks on EU member states and societies."
It further appears a 'preventative' and threatening measure in the instance of any future scenario of major Russian troop build-up in Crimea and along Ukraine's border such as occurred over the last month. Despite the Kremlin last week ordering a troop draw down after the conclusion of Black Sea military drills, the EU is clearly seeking to drastically beef up the "cost" automatically imposed on Russia for "threats" against Ukrainian sovereignty.
Here's what the key section of the new punitive resolution says on SWIFT:
...Underscores that if such a military build-up were in the future to be transformed into an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the EU must make clear that the price for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe; insists, therefore, that in such circumstances imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled;
It's certainly not the first time that Western allies have threatened such. The threat to cut off Russia from the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments which acts as the protector of the dollar reserve system has lingered for the past half-decade, since the initial Crimea crisis and the start of war in eastern Ukraine.
Russian officials have recently called Ukraine's lobbying to get Russia banned from SWIFT "a declaration of war"...
Ukraine has asked the EU to disconnect Russia from SWIFT, the international system of transfers between banks, suggesting the measure be added to a new package of sanctions.— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) April 22, 2021
Moscow has previously said it would regard this as "a declaration of war."https://t.co/ovFhriZNYI
Meanwhile Russia only two weeks ago made threats of its own, saying it's gradually being "forced" to seek alternate payment mechanism and move away from the dollar...
"Naturally, all this casts doubt on not only the expediency of using the American currency as a priority payment currency, but also the reliability of using payment mechanisms controlled by the West," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on April 15 in response to new US sanctions.
Further according to TASS:
She pointed out that Russia's gradual reduction of the dollar share in national and cross-border settlements is a "forced decision" made "in the conditions of losing confidence in the West in matters of ensuring uninterrupted access to the international financial system" as well as declining predictability of US economic policy and uncontrolled introduction of unreasonable restrictive measures.
In recent years Russia has pursued talks with other countries - notably China, India, Iran and Turkey - over establishing major alternatives to the Belgium-based SWIFT system.
It began pursuing alternatives in earnest particularly after it was hit with Western-led sanctions after 2014, and is more recently said to be experimenting with blockchain-based solutions.