According to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, excluding Russia from the Swift banking communications network would have “massive collateral damage” – and could also endanger Germany’s energy supply.

The Greens politician said on Friday on ARD that if Russia were to be excluded from Swift, energy imports could no longer be financed either.

Regarding the Russian attack on Ukraine, Baerbock said: "Anything we could do to stop this madness, we would do it.

But we also have to make sure that we don't choose instruments that Putin ends up laughing at because they hit us much harder."

50 percent of the hard coal imports came from Russia, said Baerbock: "If we don't have this coal, the coal-fired power plants in Germany will not be able to continue." The government is looking for alternatives under high pressure, but cannot now heal the mistakes of the past.

"And of course we are responsible for ensuring that we continue to have a stable supply of electricity and heat in Germany."

If Germany and other European countries now had problems there, then this would be something that Putin also wanted, a "destabilization in our country," Baerbock made clear.

"If the electricity didn't work properly for us for a few days, then we would have a real problem." That doesn't mean that Germany doesn't also incur costs, energy prices would rise.

Baerbock said that Germany and its partners have been looking at the measures that would hit the Russian center of power the hardest in the past few weeks: “Of course we also looked at Swift and saw that an exclusion would have massive collateral damage. "

Financial transactions are not only financial transactions by oligarchs, but also payments that Germany makes to civil society in Russia, for example, or in the cultural sector.

It is also about transactions in the private sector.

The EU foreign ministers decided on a major package of sanctions on Friday after the Russian attack on Ukraine.

It is about cutting off Russian banks from the EU financial markets.

However, there is criticism that the exclusion of Russia from Swift is not among the sanctions.

In addition, one of the most important banks will be exempted from the penalties.

Baerbock said the sanctions that have now been decided against Russian banks, for example, are more targeted than a Swift exclusion.

In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already found ways to handle transactions differently.

The EU imposed private sanctions on Russian President Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The US followed suit.