Ukraine: Italy backs EU bid to cut Russia off from SWIFT

Ukraine president says Italy supports ejecting Russia from SWIFT global payments system.

Italian premier Mario Draghi has told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Italy "fully supports the EU’s line on sanctions against Russia, including those regarding SWIFT", in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister's office said that Draghi called Zelenskyy on Saturday to reiterate Italy's solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people "in the face of the attack by the Russian Federation."

Draghi also said that Italy will provide Ukraine with "assistance to defend itself".

In a tweet on Saturday, Zelenskyy said that Draghi "supported Russia's disconnection from SWIFT, the provision of defense assistance", describing it as "the beginning of a new page in the history of our states."

Italy is the latest EU country to back a proposal to cut Russian banks out of SWIFT, the global payments network, as part of a plan to intensify sanctions on Moscow and heap pressure on its financial system.

The plan has been the subject of much debate among EU countries in recent days, amid fears about the impact on their own economies, with Italy among those most exposed to Russian sanctions, the Financial Times reports.

In response to speculation in international media that Rome was seeking exemptions, Palazzo Chigi tweeted on Friday night: "Italy has made no requests for carve-outs on sanctions. Italy's position is fully aligned with the rest of the EU."