It is virtually impossible to disconnect Russia from the interbank payment system SWIFT due to Russia’s oil and gas supplies, said Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation at the talks in Vienna on military security and arms control.
"It reminds me of an animal eating a cactus. It is hurting, but it still continues to eat,” Gavrilov said.
According to him, there are no discussions about disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. "It's not easy, de facto. Well, Iran was shut down, so what? Nothing. Shutting down Russia, with oil, with gas and with all ties? Are they joking?" asked Gavrilov. He expressed confidence that the West only want to scare Russia when threatening that it will be disconnected to from SWIFT.
Earlier, The Telegraph reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson supports the idea of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. In addition, according to the newspaper, he does not rule out that sanctions could be imposed against the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream-2.
Prior to this, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Friedrich Merz, said that disconnecting Russia from SWIFT would lead to negative consequences not only for the Russian economy, but also for other countries. According to him, this is will have "a nuclear bomb effect on the capital markets, as well as goods and services."
The German newspaper Das Handelsblatt, citing government sources, reported that European countries and the United States had abandoned the idea of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT. According to the newspaper, instead, the EU and the United States are discussing the introduction of targeted economic sanctions against the largest Russian banks in the event of an aggression against Ukraine. At the same time, Germany, the newspaper notes, wants to put certain exceptions in order to be able to pay for imports of Russian gas and oil.
Sanctions against Russia affecting the SWIFT system are one of the measures that the United States is considering in the event of an escalation of the situation around Ukraine. In January, U.S. Senators prepared a bill to impose sanctions, including SWIFT and the Russian financial messaging system.