Washington still insists all options are on the table despite report
German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that Western leaders have ruled out the possibility of disconnecting Russia from the global banking interchange SWIFT. However, the US government has contradicted the assertion.
"No option is off the table," a spokesperson for Washington's National Security Council told reporters on Monday.
The denial comes after Handelsblatt claimed that the US had, in fact, given up on the threat of removing Russia from SWIFT in talks with the German government. If the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication cuts ties with Russian banks, Germany would have no way of paying Moscow for its natural gas contracts.
It could also unleash a catastrophic rise in oil and food prices.
Instead, the Düsseldorf-based business daily reported that the US and German governments are discussing "targeted" sanctions against Russia's largest banks in the event that Moscow "invades" Ukraine.
US intelligence has claimed for several weeks now that Russia is preparing an attack on its neighbor. Moscow has rejected the insinuations as "fake news."
Germany has insisted that any sanctions include exceptions so that the import of oil and gas from Russia can continue, according to Handelsblatt. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the sanctions proposal with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the paper added.