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The war in Ukraine is impacting on economic and financial relations with Russia as a result of the many international sanctions imposed. In this context, the European Council has announced that the connection with the SWIFT financial messaging service is to be terminated for seven Russian banks (and their subsidiaries established in Russia) as of 12 March 2022 and for three Belarusian banks (and their subsidiaries established in Belarus) as of 20 March.

In practical terms, this means that no further financial transactions can take place with these Russian and Belarusian banks via SWIFT. Money transfers through these banks via SWIFT will consequently no longer be possible for an indefinite period.

In addition to the announced SWIFT blockade, other international sanctions are also being imposed with the aim of halting trade with Russia as much as possible, including payments.

The Belgian banks are, of course, applying all the sanctions decided upon by the competent international bodies. Russian and Belarusian institutions, businesses and private individuals placed on the sanctions list or excluded from SWIFT will be unable to receive or send any payments from or to Belgian accounts for an indefinite period.

Many payments from and to Russia are therefore no longer possible. Payment transactions that are still possible, exclusively with institutions or individuals from Russia and Belarus that are not subject to sanctions, have to be dealt with on a customised basis. There are no collective policy arrangements between Belgian banks for payment transactions with Russia or Belarus. Belgian banks are monitoring the constantly changing situation carefully and defining their commercial policy on payments to and from Russia and Belarus accordingly. Febelfin advises businesses and private individuals to first discuss payments to and from companies or private individuals in Russia or Belarus with their bank or lender.  

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