US, EU, UK and Canada announce new restrictions against Russia

The measures include blocking currently sanctioned banks from SWIFT, as well as freezing assets

The leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States issued a statement on Saturday, announcing the latest round of restrictive measures targeting Russia’s economy in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. 

In particular, they concern “selected Russian banks,” which will be “removed from the SWIFT messaging system.” Russian Central Bank, meanwhile, will be prevented “from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact” of the sanctions. 

The leaders said they will also “limit the sale of citizenship — so called golden passports — that let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems.”

Finally, the countries announced plans to launch “a transatlantic task force” that will identify and freeze the assets of sanctioned entities within their jurisdiction. 

“As a part of this effort we are committed to employing sanctions and other financial and enforcement measures on additional Russian officials and elites close to the Russian government, as well as their families, and their enablers to identify and freeze the assets they hold in our jurisdictions,” the statement read.

On top of that, the leaders vowed to “step up” their coordination against “disinformation and other forms of hybrid warfare.”

Earlier on Saturday, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former president Dmitry Medvedev said that sanctions unveiled against the country’s leadership could “excellent reason for a final review” of Russia’s relations with the nations that have imposed them. He added that it could include “interruption of the dialogue on strategic stability” and even potential denunciation of agreements, such as the New START treaty, which aimed at nuclear arms reduction. 

Russia launched its ‘special military operation’ with the stated aim to “demilitarize” Ukraine on February 24. The majority of Western nations condemned the “unprovoked” and “unjustified” attack. 

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