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Politics

Greece, Cyprus Support EU Sanctions, SWIFT Ban on Russia

February 27, 2022

ΑΤΗΕΝS – Despite historically-close ties with Russia, Greece – as well as Cyprus – will support any European Union sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including using a global banking system of money transfers.

“Greece will support the EU’s line on sanctions, including on SWIFT,” senior Greek government officials told Reuters, declining to be named. That was in reference to the method banks internationally use to for money transfers.

Cutting Russia from SWIFT is still being worked out and will likely, however, not include banks transferring funds for Russia oil and gas exports, which make up as much as 40 percent of EU and Greek energy sources.

SWIFT is a secure messaging system facilitating rapid cross-border payments and the main mechanism financing international trade through a messaging system that lets financia institutions communicate.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, saying Greece backed even harshest EU sanctions against Russia after its attack and stood ready to provide assistance, the news agency said.

After initial reports that Cyprus wouldn’t go along – the island is a haven for money for rich Russians and investors – Finance Minister Constantinos Petridis denied it and such even a SWIFT ban would be backed.

“In the name of EU unity and solidarity to Ukrainian people Cyprus has NOT objected to ANY EU sanctions including cutting Russia off Swift,” Petrides said in a Twitter post.

He was responding to some speculation that Cyprus, which has extensive business links with both Russia and Ukraine, was among countries with reservations about quickly ejecting Moscow from SWIFT.

“Everything is on the table,” Petrides tweeted of potential responses.

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