Photo from UNIAN

If Russia takes no steps toward bringing peace to eastern Ukraine's Donbas, Ukraine may push for disconnecting the aggressor state from SWIFT, a major international payment system.

That's according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas settlement, first president of independent Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk, 24 TV reports.

The government will assess progress in talks at the end of the year, he explained.

"The beginning of the new year will be about us starting to apply a new standard for assessing the situation, searching for new levers, and putting forward proposals to exert pressure on the aggressor. These may be sanctions, including as regards [switching off for Russia] the international payment system. We will be asking and demanding this," Kravchuk said.

"If Russia doesn't want to come to an agreement by diplomatic political means, we must do everything to force them to cease aggression and restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine through wider pressure of the international community and Ukraine," concluded Kravchuk.

Background

On January 9, 2019, the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin said Ukraine's international partners were considering the possibility of disconnecting Russia from SWIFT as a last resort option.

In 2018, the then-U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker said: "People refer to it as a nuclear option."  

"It would have costs for everybody involved. Big costs for Russia, but big costs for allies as well. Ultimately, we have to keep it on the table as a possibility because we just can't continue to see Russia launch further steps of aggression in its neighborhood like this."

Memo

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), legally S.W.I.F.T. SCRL, provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment, as per Wikipedia.