Andrei Kostin, chief executive of VTB, a major Russian bank, on Friday during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum, warned that excluding the country from the Swift banking payment system would be tantamount to “war”.
Kostin said: “If there is no Swift, there is no banking . . . relationship, it means that the countries are on the verge of war, or they are definitely in a cold war.”
“The next day, the Russian and American ambassadors would have to leave the capitals,” he added.
After the war warning, he seemed to calm down. He put his shoe back on and said that the solution might be a system not controlled by the US,“We have already created a domestic alternative to the Swift system . . . and we need to create alternatives internationally.”
He drew attention to efforts under way between Russia and China to create a separate platform of their own, outside western control.