BERLIN, January 18. /TASS/. The initiator of cutting Russia off from SWIFT and freezing the assets of the Bank of Russia in early 2022 was Kiril Petkov who served as Bulgarian Prime Minister back then, according to an investigation by the German daily Die Welt published on Wednesday.
On February 25, 2022, Petkov attended an informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels, which lasted late into the night, the paper wrote. Petkov spoke with European leaders at that time, suggesting that Russia be cut off from the SWIFT payment system and that the European bonds issued by the Central Bank be frozen, according to the publication. Many heads of states expressed doubt, though the EU Commission eventually supported the move.
As stated by the European Commission, EU countries froze €300 bln worth of assets of the Bank of Russia and up to €20 bln worth of Russian businessmen’s assets. However, according to the leaks in European media outlets, the EC has no idea where €200 bln out of the €300 bln of frozen Russian assets are.
Generally, the US-led West’s sanctions target the financial, energy and transportation sectors, the supplies of goods, technologies and equipment, as well as restrictions on visa policy. A number of large Russian banks have been cut off from the system of interbank payments SWIFT, in addition MasterCard and Visa suspended their operations on Russian territory.
The West slapped sweeping sanctions on Moscow in response to its decision to launch the current special operation in Ukraine. A number of Western politicians have not denied that the issue was in fact about an economic war against Russia. As was stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 16, 2022, the West’s sanctions policy against Moscow has all signs of aggression. The policy of Russia’s containment is the West’s long-term strategy, he added.