SWIFT banking curbs unlikely to be in initial Russia package, White House says

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WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - A move banning Russia from the SWIFT financial system is unlikely to be included in an initial sanctions package against Russia if it invades Ukraine, a White House official said on Friday, noting that allies are converging on a final suite of measures.

Speaking at a White House press briefing, deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh also argued that Russia would be unable to replace technology imports from other countries, including China, if the United States imposes tough export controls it has also threatened against the country.

"We are converging on the final package," he said. "All options remain on the table but its probably not going to be the case that you'll see SWIFT in the initial rollout package," he added. His comments confirmed a Feb. 11 report by Reuters. read more

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Tensions are running high on the Ukrainian-Russia border after Russian-backed separatists announced an evacuation on Friday from breakaway regions in east Ukraine in a conflict the West believes Moscow plans to use as justification for an invasion of its neighbour. Russia denies it plans to attack. read more

The United States has repeatedly threatened tough sanctions against Russia if President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, but questions remain about the scope and ordering of potential measures that have been floated by the Biden administration.

The sanctions on the table also include export controls on components produced by Russia for the tech and weapons sectors, and sanctions against specific Russian oligarchs.

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Reporting by Steve Holland and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis

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