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De-SWIFTing Russian banks first step in isolating Russia financially: Boris Johnson

London : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that disconnecting certain Russian banks from SWIFT, a restrictive measure agreed upon by Western states this weekend, is the first step in isolating Russia financially. "We have taken decisive action tonight with our international partners to shut Russia out of the global financial system, including the important first step of ejecting Russian banks from SWIFT," Johnson said on Twitter late on Saturday. Earlier on Saturday, the United Kingdom, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the United States agreed on additional anti-Russia sanctions over the Ukraine situation. They committed to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT system and that the Russian Central Bank is prevented from deploying its international reserves in ways that undermine the impact of sanctions.The British government said that Western allies are ready to continue imposing sanctions on Russia as the latter's special military operation in Ukraine continues. A special task force will be created to ensure the implementation of the restrictive measures. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told The Sunday Times that the British government plans to sanction Russian oligarchs on a regular basis in the coming months and that people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin will have "nowhere left to hide." According to Truss, the UK Foreign Office is preparing a "hit list" of Russian oligarchs to be targeted by sanctions. Western nations have increased sanctions pressure on Russia after it launched a military operation in Ukraine following requests for help from the people's republics in Donbas that have accused Kiev of intensified shootings in recent weeks. The Russian Defense Ministry said the operation was targeting the military infrastructure of Ukraine only and that the civilian population was not in danger. Moscow says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.

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