UK to accept Ukrainian refugees, Russian banks cut from SWIFT

“We’ve got to act together and we’ve got to do more," UK's PM Boris Johnson said.



AFP
AFP

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Sun 27 Feb 2022, 1:44 PM

The United Kingdom and its allies on Saturday night announced that some Russian banks would be removed from SWIFT, the international payment system, as part of economic sanctions on Russia, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “of course”, Britain will take Ukrainian refugees.

The curbs on Russian use of SWIFT are among new measures agreed by the UK, United States, Canada and the European Commission.

They said in a statement: “First, we commit to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally”.

“Second, we commit to imposing restrictive measures that will prevent the Russian Central Bank from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of our sanctions," it added.

Visiting a Royal Air Force base in Oxfordshire, Johnson said: “We need to make sure that we apply those much tougher economic sanctions, including SWIFT, and what’s starting to happen is that the horror of what is unfolding in Ukraine is becoming clear to western audiences, and that is, in turn, putting huge pressure on western politicians”.

“We’ve got to act together and we’ve got to do more. SWIFT is the mechanism that stops people making payments to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It’s incredibly important for tightening the ligature, the economic ligature around the Putin regime.”

Asked about the UK accepting Ukrainian refugees fleeing in large numbers of neighbouring countries, Johnson said: “Of course we’re going to take refugees … The UK is way out in front in our willingness to help with refugees. We’ve sent 1,000 troops to the theatre, to be ready to help with the influx and, of course, we will help people fleeing in fear of their lives.”

Ukraine President Zelenskyy and Johnson spoke on Saturday night. A Downing Street spokesperson later stated that “The leaders agreed that President Putin is being met with a greater Ukrainian resistance than he calculated on”.

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Calling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s engagement in diplomacy before invading Ukraine a ‘charade’, Johnson said: “I think we have to face the hideous reality that the diplomacy, as far as President Putin was concerned, was a charade. He never really intended to alter his course. You read the article that he wrote many months ago – it was clear that he’s attached to a weird, semi-mystical view of Ukraine as part of Russia”.

He added: “And that is a view that the Ukrainian people fervently, passionately reject and they’re showing that they will fight to reject it. Our job now is to help them, to help change the very heavy odds they face and that’s why we’re sending the support that we are.”

“Let’s be in no doubt, things are not going all the way of President Putin, very far from it. The Ukrainians are fighting heroically, and in some places with great success, as many of us thought they would because they’re a great country and a very brave country”.


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