Russian Central Bank Preparing for SWIFT ‘Nuclear Option’

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(Photo Credit: Ludvig12 via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Smaller banks have been encouraged to establish secondary arrangements for processing bank card transactions.

Preparing for new U.S. sanctions “early next year” that will likely target Russia’s access to the SWIFT international banking system—something that was just described as a “nuclear option” against Moscow just earlier this week—the Bank of Russia has urged the country’s smaller banks to prepare for a “worst-case scenario.” Continue reading

Ukraine Gets Official NATO Status: Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

 

NATO has granted Ukraine the status of an aspirant country. Macedonia, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina have similar status. This means Kiev has been offered a real chance to make its dreams come true. The next step will be obtaining its Membership Action Plan (MAP), a set of criteria to meet before the country is allowed to join. It is tailored to each applicant country’s individual profile. This type of plan can be granted at any time; there is no need to wait for summits or ministry-level meetings. Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are aspirants with a MAP.

Last summer, Ukraine’s parliament (Rada) adopted a resolution recognizing full membership in NATO as a foreign policy goal. In 2008, NATO agreed that Ukraine and Georgia should become members at a future date. Continue reading

Obama Snubs Nato Chief as Crisis Rages

President Barack Obama has yet to meet with the new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and won’t see Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg this week, even though he is in Washington for three days.  Stoltenberg’s office requested a meeting with Obama well in advance of the visit, but never heard anything from the White House, two sources close to the NATO chief told me.

Kurt Volker, who served as the U.S. permanent representative to NATO under both President George W. Bush and Obama, said the president broke a long tradition.  “The Bush administration held a firm line that if the NATO secretary general came to town, he would be seen by the president … so as not to diminish his stature or authority,” he told me. Continue reading