Russia’s Retreat From Counterparty Risk and SWIFT Over Ukraine – Part 2

Russia’s Retreat From Counterparty Risk and SWIFT Over Ukraine – Part 2

Originally published on Feb. 26, 2022 by TraderStef at CrushTheStreet

When I penned Part 1 (Twitter thread) on Jan. 25, the reality of removing Russia from the SWIFT system via sanctions was just a thought in the Biden administration’s woke mindset and European virtue signaling before a second invasion of Ukraine. This past week altered that thought and gave countries across Europe time to ponder crossing another red line as Russian troops and armor rolled into Ukraine. It’s unlikely that anyone reading this is not aware of events that transpired this past week, but if you need to get up to speed, consider “Little Green Men and Metal Poised to Strike” Part 1, 2, 3, and 4 (Twitter thread).

Since crossing into Ukraine from the north, south, and east on Feb. 20, Moscow is shocking the world with its commitment and has forced folks to reality-check their geopolitical view of the world. The first report of an incursion into the Donbas region was published by Russell Bentley in Donetsk.

Let’s assess where we’re at today and begin with an excerpt from Part 1:

“NATO and U.S. tensions with Russia over the potential for a renewed military invasion of Ukraine have elicited a tsunami of media-driven rhetoric from all players on the geopolitical chessboard… One possible response to any new incursion is a broad sanction package floated by the Biden administration and allies to punish Russia, then remove its access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network.”

President Zelensky released a message this morning in response to a report that he would be evacuated from Kyiv, and followed that up with a selfie video from somewhere in Kyiv at dawn.

“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” – Ukraine’s Embassy to UK

There is no doubt that Russia is taking a political pounding and its troops and armor are experiencing loses, but whether civilian and military resistance was unexpected is open to debate vs. rampant propaganda from legacy and alternative media sources. Video footage from civilians, journos, and military boots on the ground are providing a glimpse into the horror of war and massive carnage to armor in Ukrainian and Russian convoys.

Those who argue that sanctioning Russia from SWIFT will further isolate Russia’s economy beyond previous sanctions that targeted specific institutions, industries, or individuals were also hesitant to impose any ban on SWIFT. As noted in part one, Russia had taken numerous steps to prepare for an ejection from SWIFT and their military operation considered all potential outcomes before moving forward last week. The idea of sanctioning Russia from SWIFT first appeared in 2014 as little green men invaded the Dombas region and captured Crimea without a shot fired. Since that time, Russian businessmen and parliamentarians were on the record to say it would be akin to a declaration of war.

Cutting Russia off from SWIFT would mean declaration of war… “Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Medvedev recalled the West once seriously considered the option, and Moscow is aware of it. ‘This would in fact be a declaration of war, but nevertheless it was discussed,’ the Russian prime minister said, adding that this is one of the reasons why the government is looking into ways to protect the Russian part of the internet… The idea was floated again last year by Washington’s special envoy to Ukraine at the time, Kurt Volker. In an interview to Voice of America, Volker said that such a nuclear option’ is still on the table, but it would have costs for everybody involved.’”RT, Dec. 2019

By early 2020, over 400 Russian banks and a handful of countries that include China had joined Russia’s central bank version of SWIFT, the SPFS. The use of SPFS nearly doubled since it lowered the cost of use and streamlined integration with other payment systems to include European banks. SWIFT remains the most powerful system in the global network of financial transactions and a sanctioned removal would have a serious long-term impact for the world, not just Russia. Experts and analysts argue that implementing such a ban will only incentivize Russia to embark upon closer ties with China and eventually lead to a rival system that will challenge the SWIFT hegemony.

Interrupting exports of Russia’s oil and natural gas will cause harm in its ability to efficiently generate sovereign revenue. Although, anything that puts upward pressure on the price of oil that’s currently trading around $100 per barrel will further impact a global economy that’s struggling with debt and trying to recover from pandemic lockdowns and a supply chain crisis. Many European nations are hesitant to agree to banning Russia’s access to SWIFT because it will have serious consequences for them. That attitude appears to have changed today.

Before the legacy or alternative media had a chance to report the shift in tone from Europe today, former President Poroshenko let the cat out of the bag while interviewed live on Sky News this morning. I notified a few folks and tweeted later about the “incoming shift.” Beginning at timestamp 3:45, Poroshenko mentioned his volunteer military (can you spot the American?) and he was notified that all of Ukraine’s partners in Europe were no longer opposed to a SWIFT sanction.

TraderStef on Twitter on SWIFT sanction incoming shift

“I wouldn’t want to keep money in a bank that can’t access the SWIFT system. Once a bank can’t transfer or receive funds from other banks, its solvency can be at risk. If I were Russian, I would take my money out now. Bank runs could begin in Russia on Monday.” – Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management (9:49am ET)

U.S., allies agree to limit Russia’s access to SWIFT… “‘We commit to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,’ the leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, said in a joint statement.”  NBC, Feb. 26 (5pm ET)

Putin Chess Biden Checkers

A report was circulating yesterday that Russia was ready to negotiate with Zelensky on ceasefire terms. Headline semantics caused the stock market trading machines to rally several hundred points after being deeply negative in the morning. What actually happened is that Zelensky invited Russia to have a mafia-style “sit down.” That proposal did not make it past a negotiation of where it should be held.

Zelensky asks Putin to ‘sit down at the negotiating table’ to ‘stop the dying’ as Russian forces strike Kyiv –  Business Insider

What concerns me more is not a SWIFT sanction per se, but how that final red line and “act of war” will be viewed by Putin and his State Duma. My closing statement in part four of little green men:

“Lastly, if you’re not prepped to shelter in place with essential supplies and have your financial house in order, you wasted a lot of time. Stock market futures are dumping at GLOBEX open this evening as gold, oil, and Treasuries are spiking. The U.S. economy is already being hit with increased gas prices, inflation, supply-chain issues, and now the Ukraine crisis. The psychological effect of a missile launch within the European continent or a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon used on a battlefield would send shockwaves through the U.S. population, and grocery and home goods supply chains will be mobbed in a heartbeat.”

Recent reportage alludes to Russia using a “father of all bombs” (FOAB) from its arsenal. It is widely known that NATO allies are supplying Ukraine with lethal weaponry by plane and the truckload, as well as UK made NLAW tank killers. IMHO, a weaponry that Putin was referring to in his televised address are not FOABs because the U.S. dropped the “mother of all bombs” (MOAB) in the Middle East and is familiar with its power. I suspect we’re looking at tactical nukes on the battlefield to counter NATO’s backing of Ukraine with lethal weapons, advisors, and intelligence data.

Vladimir Putin appears to threaten nuclear attack against West in chilling TV address… “‘Whoever tries to impede us, let alone create threats for our country and its people, must know that the Russian response will be immediate and lead to the consequences you have never seen in history… “All relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me.” – Mirror UK, Feb. 24

“The bomb that Russia has is a thermobaric bomb. It is a super-powerful non-nuclear bomb that has a blast equivalent to more than 44 tons of TNT. Father Of All Bombs can cause damage in a radius of 300 meters. The destructive weapon is dropped from a jet, detonates mid-air, and produces a similar effect to a small tactical nuclear weapon.” – India Today, Feb. 24

Illia Ponomarenko Twitter on UK Provided NLAWs

UPDATES Feb. 27: Excerpts from this SWIFT sanctions Twiiter thread

Russia Puts Nuclear Deterence Forces on High Alert - Feb. 27
Russia Bank Runs Begin Feb. 27 at ATMs

I’ll end this doomy evening with a final cautionary note to have your food pantry and financial house in order. Do not do wait for legacy media to warn you from an idiot box. Here is an intense combat scene where the Ukrainian military are using UK supplied NLAWs to destroy Russian armor and infantry troops to halt their entry into Kyiv.

Plan Your Trade, Trade Your Plan

TraderStef on TwitterGettr, Gab / Website:

Headline Collage Art by TraderStef

NONE of the content produced by TraderStef, staff members, or any services associated with this website should be construed as financial or investment advice. Financial investment is a risky endeavor and may lead to substantial loss. Always perform due diligence before undertaking any financial decision.  Not a Financial Advisor. Copyrighted Material – A “by TraderStef” credit linked back to this website is required when using any quotes, written material, technical analysis charts, or publishing a full version of an article.