NATO is now talking about Russia's failure to withdraw troops from near Ukraine even though on Tuesday the Kremlin had announced the start of a draw down of some military units in the south. "Russia's failure to withdraw can be confirmed through commercial satellite imagery.
His statement comes less than 24 hours after President Biden addressed the Ukraine situation in a televised speech wherein he alleged that a Russian attack on Ukraine is "still very much a possibility" and that the troop reduction is "not verified yet".
Biden took the opportunity to again warn of "overwhelming international condemnation" and unprecedented sanctions, including "export controls...methods we did not pursue when Russia took Crimea in 2014."
When it comes to the scenario of being cut off from SWIFT, which is being reported as possibly part of a sweeping sanctions package under preparation by US and European officials, Siluanov referenced the his country being able to withstand it, with plans being readied for a "Fortress Russia" approach.
It was reported that as of early February, Russia possesses nearly $635 billion in gold and forex reserves. On the energy question, he affirmed that Russia stands ready to re-route to other markets.
The comment about advancing "digital and fintech sovereignty" is particularly interesting in light of President Putin's October 2021 statements wherein he rattled American financial officials after hinting that cryptocurrencies could be 'weaponized' as a dollar replacement.
Later in the interview, Putin reiterated his criticisms about how Washington's abuse of the dollar's dominance is tantamount to brandishing an "economic weapon", and remains keen to ditch dollar-denominated payments.