Italy has signaled that it would support taking measures to expel Russia from the SWIFT global payment system as part of further European Union sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's press office said on Saturday.
During a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Draghi said that "Italy fully supports the European Union’s line on sanctions against Russia, including those regarding SWIFT, and shall continue to do so," the prime minister’s press office said.
Draghi expressed to Zelensky Italy’s solidarity and support for him and the Ukrainian population "in the face of the attack by the Russian Federation."
The Ukrainian president hailed the declaration, tweeting: “This is the beginning of a new page in the history of our states Ukraine and Italy. #MarioDraghi in a phone conversation supported Russia's disconnection from SWIFT, the provision of defense assistance. Ukraine must become part of the #EU.”
Draghi also said Italy will provide Ukraine with assistance to defend itself, according to his office, and the two leaders agreed to remain in close contact in the immediate future.
More background: The bloc has been divided over the issue of banning Russia from SWIFT as part of the two packages of sanctions it has agreed since the invasion of Ukraine began. However, the opposition has been dropping off with France also saying it would “support” the idea of SWIFT restrictions, according to the Élysée, following a phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and Zelensky. On Friday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that France is not among the countries that has reservations regarding SWIFT sanctions.