Russia seeks to reconnect to SWIFT payments

2023-07-06 09:31:44China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Russia on Tuesday restated its demand that its state agricultural bank be reconnected to the global SWIFT payments system to avert the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal, and said it would not accept a reported compromise proposal.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow sees no basis for renewing the Black Sea grain deal. The statement comes less than two weeks before the deal expires. The deal has allowed Ukraine to ship grain out of its Black Sea ports.

With 13 days remaining until the expiry of the deal, which has allowed Ukraine to export grain despite Russia's special military operation, Moscow said there had been no progress on any of its key demands, including the banking issue.

In mid-May, Russia agreed to renew the deal for two months. But after that, it has repeatedly said it sees no basis for extending the deal again.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that the European Union was considering a proposal to allow Russia's Rosselkhozbank to set up a subsidiary that could connect to SWIFT.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova dismissed the idea as "deliberately unworkable", saying it would take many months to set up such a unit and another three months to connect to SWIFT.

The ministry also rejected a United Nations' attempt to create an alternative payment channel between Rosselkhozbank and United States bank JP Morgan.

"There is no real replacement for SWIFT, and cannot be," Zakharova said in a statement.

In the statement, the ministry said the Black Sea initiative had delivered Ukrainian grain to "well-fed" countries but failed to help those that needed it most in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

In the latest developments on drone attacks, Moscow said Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian territory would "not be possible" without US and NATO help, escalating its rhetoric after reporting it had downed five drones near the capital on Tuesday.

Moscow said the West had enabled Ukraine to carry out the drone attacks, after earlier condemning what it called a "terrorist act".

"These attacks would not be possible without the help provided to the Kyiv regime by the US and its NATO allies," the Russian foreign ministry said, claiming the West was "training drone operators and providing the necessary intelligence to commit such crimes".

It marks the latest in a series of recent drone attacks, including on the Kremlin and Russian towns near the border with Ukraine, that Moscow has blamed on Kyiv.

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