The U.S., Britain, the European Union, and other nations went after a handful of key Russian banks by banning them from using SWIFT, the global messaging system that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world. The financial blockade of Russia, punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, was announced Saturday and detailed Monday, sending the Russian ruble crashing and prompting Russia to close its stock market for two days and raised interest rates to 20 percent as people rushed ATMs to withdraw money.
SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, was founded in 1973 and is based in Belgium. Cutting off the Russian banks means they "are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally," the U.S. and Europe said in a joint statement. You can read more about SWIFT and its repercussions for Russia at, among other places, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today, or you can get the quick version from Monday's Late Show and — in a manner of speaking — Taylor Swift.
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