KIEV, March 23. /TASS/. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has asked the country’s law-enforcement agencies to ensure safety of subsidiaries of Russian banks operating in Ukraine, Deputy Governor Kateryna Rozhkova said Thursday.
"The National Bank draws the attention of law-enforcement agencies to the need to protect more than 1.7 mln Ukrainians who entrusted their funds - more than 21 bln hryvnia, or $840 mln - to the banking system. Our fellow citizens, clients and employees of those banks are in danger due to unforeseeable actions of aggressively disposed groups of people," she said.
According to Rozhkova, "it is necessary to ensure safe operations of those banks and a free access of clients to their funds in order to resume a stable functioning of the banking system."
"The acts of vandalism against banking institutions bring discredit to the banking system in the eyes of clients, threaten the financial stability and negatively affect the image of Ukraine. As a law-governed state we have to provide the opportunity of a civilized withdrawal from the market to those banks," she added.
Since March 13, Ukrainian nationalists have been blocking activities of Sberbank’s central office in Kiev as they pitched tents in front of the building and made bonfires.
As reported earlier the Ukrop (Ukrainian Association of Patriots) party posted a statement on its website on Wednesday, urging President Pyotr Poroshenko to nationalize banks with Russian capital operating in the country and to prevent sale transactions. Ukrop’s radicals warned they would block the operations of the Ukrainian subsidiaries of the Russian-based lenders in case the latter are allowed to sell them.
On March 16, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko imposed sanctions against five banks with Russian state capital operating on the Ukrainian market. Restrictions were introduced against Sberbank, VS Bank, Prominvestbank, VTB Bank and BM Bank for one-year period. Sanctions include a ban on withdrawal of funds outside of Ukraine, as well as payment of dividends, interest, return of interbank deposits and loans, funds from correspondent accounts of subordinated debt. The ban also concerns distribution of profits and capital of these five banks. Ukraine’s National Bank said then that all lenders with Russian capital operating in the country negotiated potential sale transactions. Russian credit organizations later confirmed those plans.