European Union leaders have pledged to impose tough economic and financial sanctions on Russia, but there is a lack of consensus within the West over cutting the country off the SWIFT financial payment system.
The Belgium-based cooperative is used by more than 11,000 institutions globally. It shuffles money from bank to bank, and removing Russia from it would likely also have an impact on European economies.
Ukraine has requested the move. While the head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, said on Thursday that EU sanctions need to include the exclusion of Russia from the scheme, many EU leaders remain unconvinced. Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte, for instance, said such a decision would also hurt European economies. Rutte said it should be a last-resort measure that could be decided at a later stage.
"A number of countries are hesitant since it has serious consequences for themselves," he said.