Brussels: The European Union banned Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik from broadcasting in the bloc while banning “certain” Russian banks from the SWIFT bank messaging system Tuesday, the EU’s presidency said. The moves, due to come into force Wednesday after publication in the official journal of the EU, come as Brussels intensifies its sanctions regime on Moscow in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Representatives of the 27 EU member states also agreed a ban on participating in projects co-financed by the RDIF sovereign wealth fund. The United States and Western allies have sought to cripple Russia’s banking sector and currency with a barrage of sanctions. They include cutting selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, and thus isolating them from the rest of the world. SWIFT’s system allows banks to communicate rapidly and securely about transactions — cutting Russia off is aimed at preventing it from trading with most of the world. Western measures that prohibit transactions with Russia’s central bank have also helped plunge the country’s economy into turmoil. The ruble is down 27 percent against the dollar since the start of the year and is trading at more than 100 rubles per US unit, its weakest level on record. Russians are consequently flocking to crypto currencies that operate on a decentralised network and therefore are not directly affected by sanctions.