British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks during a joint press conference with her Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian counterparts at the Foreign Office in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 3. (Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Western allies must maintain their attempts to curb Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ensure that no Russian bank has access to the SWIFT banking messaging system, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said.

“It is vital that we keep our foot on the accelerator. [The United Kingdom] worked with the US, the EU and the G7 to cut off funding for Putin’s war machine, kicking Russian banks out of the financial system, we closed our airspace to Russian planes and we are rapidly advancing sanctions against the Russian oligarchs. But we have to go further,” Truss said Thursday.

“We need to ensure that no Russian bank has access to SWIFT and we need to go further in reducing Russia’s dependence on hydrocarbons, including oil, gas and coal,” Truss said, speaking alongside his Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian counterparts. Lithuania.

On Wednesday, seven Russian banks were removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a key messaging service that connects financial institutions around the world.

Truss said she would raise the bloc’s extension to other Russian banks at Friday’s G7 meeting, as well as at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

“We have to degrade the Russian economy, stop the ability to fund Putin’s war machine,” Truss added.

However, while Truss speaks tough, critics have previously said the UK government’s hands-off approach to Russian money, coupled with the oligarchs’ ability to use the legal system to shield themselves from scrutiny , allowed Russian expatriates to wield enormous influence in the UK. .

“The Russian elite’s ties to the UK – particularly when it involves business and investment – provide access to British businesses and politicians, and thus provide a means of exerting broad Russian influence in the UK. United,” Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee said in its 2020 report.

“To some degree this cannot be unraveled and the priority now must be to mitigate the risk and ensure that where hostile activity is uncovered the tools exist to deal with it at source,” he continued.