Belarus prepares to be disconnected from SWIFT

All Belarusian banks have connected to the Bank of Russia's Financial Messaging Transfer System (SPFS, said the Head of Division for Development and regulation of the National Payment System, of the Russia Central Bank Denis Baryshkov speaking at the VIII National Payment Forum.

Now 38 financial institutions from nine countries are connected to the Russian system, which began to be developed in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and the collapse of relations with the West, Baryshkov said.

"In recent years, the SPFS has shown high reliability and uninterrupted around-the-clock operation, both with Russian and foreign users," he added.

In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing foreign banks to be connected to the SPFS. But the system is mainly used by participants from the countries of the former USSR, while large Western financial organizations still ignore it.

Among 332 participants of the system, there are JSC İşbank (Turkey), MUFG Eurasia Bank (a subsidiary of the Japanese MUFG), Crédit Agricole CIB (France), SEB BANK (Sweden) and Toyota Bank (Japan).

Despite numerous calls for China to jointly reject the use of the U.S. dollar, only the Bank of China joined the Russian Central Bank system.

Technically, expanding the number of SPFS participants is not a problem, but this also requires political will, complained in June the first deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova.

"We need your help, and we need other ministries and departments: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Finance. Because it is always an intergovernmental agreement," she explained.

  SWIFT, Belarus, Lukashenko