European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the move aims to harm Russia's ability to finance its war in Ukraine.
Germany and its Western allies agreed Saturday to cut “selected” Russian banks out of the SWIFT global payment system.
The move is part of a new round of sanctions targeting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The US, EU and UK also agreed to impose ”restrictive measures” on Russia's Central Bank. The measures were announced jointly and mark a major escalation of sanctions against Moscow.
“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after a videoconference with the leaders of the US, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.
“All of these measures will significantly harm [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's ability to finance his war and they will have a severely eroding impact on his economy,” she said. “Putin embarked on a path aiming to destroy Ukraine, but what he is also doing in fact is destroying the future of his own country.”