EU considering cutting Russia from SWIFT following Zelensky demand
Russia's exclusion from the mechanism could be imminent, despite such action heavily impeding the European and international economy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on his European counterparts Saturday to exclude Russia from the SWIFT mechanism following statements from Italy and Hungary suggesting that they would not block the move if it was brought to the table.
Budapest dismissed allegations that it had blocked an attempt to sever Moscow from the system, with its foreign minister Peter Szijjarto saying such claims were "fake news".
"We have never spoken out against a single sanction proposal. We have not blocked and are not blocking anything," he wrote.
"Hungary stands 100% in alignment with the joint EU effort," government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said.
"We're doing no less than what the EU position calls for, and it's not dependent on Hungary to do more."
Neither official explicitly clarified whether Hungary would later support the move or if it was in favor of it now.
Germany has been practically leading the effort of remaining cautious regarding the exclusion of Russia from SWIFT, as Russian gas makes up the lion's share of energy supplies in Germany and other parts of Europe not backing the move, such as France.
Italy had also shown much reluctance toward excluding Russia from the mechanism, fearing that Moscow would stop delivering its gas supplies, though the Kremlin had previously said their economic ties would not be affected by the European decision-making.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had spoken to Ukraine's president on Saturday, affirming that Rome "will fully support the EU line on sanctions against Russia, including those relating to SWIFT."
Russia has bolstered its economy in face of western sanctions through various strategies, such as developing domestic financial infrastructure to thwart the western threats, including the SPFS system for bank transfers and the Mir card payments system.
It is not in Europe's favor to cut Russia off as the Europeans rely heavily on Russian trade and such action would complicate trade between the two.
The European Union had agreed Friday to freeze European assets linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over Moscow's operation in Donbass.
The tsunami of sanctions that Russia is repeatedly telling the west has no effect come in light of leader Vladimir Putin authorizing a special military operation in Donbass over the constant Ukrainian shelling of Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, whose independence Moscow recognized a few days ahead of the operation.
Russia has its way of curbing these sanctions, though, via cooperation with China and using the roble and yuan in exchanges rather than the USD.
Moscow's ministry of foreign affairs informed the international community the operation in Ukraine was not the beginning of a war, but rather an attempt at curbing one after the west bombarded the situation with condemnations.
Russia has for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.