Washington. Money as a trump card: In the Ukraine conflict with Russia, the United States has many more options if it crosses the Moscow border, subject to financial pressure – from sanctions against the Russian leadership to the severance of international tariffs. Swift.
According to the US Secret Service, tens of thousands of Russian troops have recently been deployed along the Ukrainian border. Fears of a planned invasion early next year are rife. Western nations have not yet indicated possible military intervention, but the US government has provided tough financial blows if Russia makes progress.
In the words of Secretary of State Anthony Plinken, Russia is threatened by “strong economic activity” and so far the United States has avoided it. U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday that the United States has developed a “very comprehensive and significant set of initiatives” that would be “very, very painful” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Over the past decade, the United States has already imposed a number of sanctions on Russian companies and individuals, many of which annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and are linked to the support of armed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Other punitive measures were directed against Russian interference in the US election campaign, cyber attacks and human rights abuses.
Previous sanctions include freezing credit balances, banning business with US companies, or refusing to enter the United States. But there is still a sharp financial impact on the hind legs, including the “nuclear option”: the exclusion from the international Swift tariff system. The Belgium-based SWIFT organization (Global Bank Telecommunications Community) ensures the transfer of funds between thousands of banks around the world.
The dominance of the dollar protects American influence
Thanks to the dominance of the dollar, the United States has enormous influence and can count on the support of its Western allies. A few months ago the EU Parliament passed an unrestricted resolution to expel Russia from the SWIFT organization in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.
In the nuclear dispute with Iran, the United States has already demonstrated the strength of such a move. Maria Shakina, an expert on sanctions and energy policy at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Iran had lost nearly half of its oil export earnings and a third of its foreign trade after Swift acquired Washington to seize Iranian banks.
According to the researcher, the effects on the Russian economy will be “similarly catastrophic”. Russia relies on one-third of its national income from its oil and gas exports and is dependent on SWIFT.
However, since 2014, Moscow has been working to arm its internal financial system for possible exclusion. Moreover, Russia’s activity will indirectly affect the economy of the West. So the US ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, says the SWIFT option is only a last resort.
Financial sanctions against people in Putin’s area and further punitive measures against Russian banks and the country’s energy sector, Herbest Lists are other possible steps ahead of this. But: “SWIFT is not out of the desk”, he insists.AP smv
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