Russian exports of crude, LNG and agricultural products face severe disruption after the US and its allies moved to block certain Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT international payment system.

SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a secure messaging system that facilitates rapid cross-border payments, transferring trillions of dollars a year.

Created in 1973 and based in Belgium, SWIFT links 11,000 banks and institutions in more than 200 countries and has become the principal mechanism for financing international trade.