She said: “Only a few dozen kilometres from the EU’s eastern border, the Russian army is committing barbaric actions during its invasion of Ukraine.
“It is bombing and launching missiles, killing innocent people.
“At the same time, the entire world is witnessing the determined and brave resistance by the Ukrainian army and population.
“As Russian forces unleash their assault on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, we are resolved to continue imposing massive costs on Russia; costs that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies.
“In coordination with President Biden, President Macron, Chancellor Scholz, Prime Minister Draghi as well as Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Johnson, we considered a significant tightening of our international response.
“The European Union and its partners are working to cripple Putin’s ability to finance his war machine.”
Ms von der Leyen’s comments come as Russian troops descend on the capital of Kyiv.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, Russian forces are not making the progress they had planned and are suffering from logistical challenges and strong Ukrainian resistance.
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In addition, the intelligence update states that Russian forces were sustaining casualties and a number of the Kremlin forces had been taken prisoner.
Ms von der Leyen continued: “I will now propose to EU leaders the following measures, firstly we commit to ensuring that a certain number of Russian banks are removed from Swift.
“This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally.
“Swift is the world’s dominant, global interbank payment system. Cutting banks off will stop them from conducting most of their financial transactions worldwide and effectively block Russian exports and imports.
“Second, we will stop Putin from using his war chest. We will paralyse the assets of Russia’s central bank.
“This will freeze its transactions, and it will make it impossible for the Central Bank to liquidate its assets.
“And finally, we will work to prohibit Russian oligarchs from using their financial assets on our markets.
“All of these measures will significantly harm Putin’s ability to finance his war and they will have a severely eroding effect on his economy.
“Putin embarked on a path aiming to destroy Ukraine but what he’s also doing in fact is destroying the future of his own country.”
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The Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system is one on which Russia relies heavily for its gas and oil exports.
A spokesman for the German government said the banks set to be affected are “all those already sanctioned by the international community, as well as other institutions, if necessary.”
In a joint statement, leaders from the US, UK, Europe and Canada agreed to “hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin” but added that “even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine.”