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The West ramps up sanctions on Russia

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STORY: From seizing superyachts to SWIFT to Putin himself, sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine are wide-ranging.But will they work?

Russia has been blocked out of SWIFT, the international banking system.

This deals a blow to Russian trade as it makes it harder for any Russian company to do business internationally.

Head of international trade at Ashurst, Ross Denton explains more:

“If you take the Russian system out of SWIFT it effectively moves back to the Stone Age. . . .because effectively the SWIFT system is sort of like the neural networks for the financial markets, so it allows you to get your payments done more securely but also more quickly “

U.S and the E.U imposed sanctions on the Russian Central Bank, meaning it won’t be able to access its international reserves.

President Joe Biden (SOUNDBITE) “…Making Putin’s $630 billion war fund worthless.”

Neutral Switzerland will freeze nearly 11 billion U.S dollars held by Russians and assets. Visa and Mastercard have also blocked multiple Russian financial institutions.

But how much will that hurt Russia?

Lawyer Douglas Rediker is from Brookings Institution:

"They're going to be very effective. We have already seen Russia take enormously defensive measures as a result. . . Russia today has announced a series of capital control measures and potentially has even announced a pending default on its foreign bond obligations, which is a big deal.

AerCap, the world’s biggest aircraft leasing company, says it will terminate leases with carriers in the country.

The EU has banned the export of all aircrafts and equipment. Major auto and truck makers have cut off exports to Russia, including Volvo and GM.

Other countries like Taiwan, the world's biggest chipmaker, and South Korea have tightened exports of semiconductors and strategic items including electronics, sensors and navigation equipment.

BP said it would abandon its stake in Russian oil firm Rosneft, taking a hit of around $25 billion.

Exxon Mobil and Shell said they would quit Russia and Norwegian oil firm Equinor says it will start divesting.

Putin and other high ranking officials have been blacklisted by Ukraine’s allies.

A U.S task force is hunting down and freezing the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and has imposed sanctions on at least eight oligarchs.

One of them is billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who had his $600 million dollar yacht seized by German authorities.

The sale of citizenship via so-called golden passports used by some wealthy Russians to gain residency in Western nations has also been limited.

Head of Ukraine Forum at Chatham House, Orysia Lutsevych says the sanctions could affect Putin’s popularity in his inner circle.

“The UK holds an important leverage and that is access to capital in the city, there is also a list of Russian wealthy individuals. . . targeting not just individuals involved in policy making like members of the (Russian) national security council but also those who are Russian wealthy individuals in charge of Russian state companies, and that could also undermine eventually support for Putin's rule inside Russia and create cracks within the elite over time."

'Putin has called Russia's actions in Ukraine a 'special operation' that is not designed to occupy territory.'

Despite sanction-proofing its economy such as borrowing less, and floating the exchange rate, the Russian rouble has tumbled as sanctions isolate fortress Russia.