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Sberbank subsidiary in Ukraine limits cash withdrawals amid blockade by radicals

March 15, 7:25 UTC+3 KIEV

Starting from Wednesday, individual customers will not be able to withdraw more than 30,000 hryvnia or its equivalent in other currencies

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KIEV, March 15. /TASS/. The Ukrainian subsidiary of Russia’s Sberbank was forced to limit cash withdrawals by individuals starting Wednesday following a radical activists’ blockade of its offices, its press service said.

"Due to unlawful actions by third parties to block the head office of Sberbank and damage its ATMs, which led to disruptions in cash-in-transit services, we announce temporary limits on the withdrawal of cash by individuals from their current accounts," the bank said.

Starting from Wednesday, individual customers will not be able to withdraw more than 30,000 hryvnia or its equivalent in other currencies (at the current exchange rate, $1 = 26.9 hryvnia) via a cash desk daily, or not more than $800-$2,000 via ATMs in Ukraine and other countries.

Ukrainian nationalists did not let staffers of the bank’s head office in Kiev into the office early on Tuesday. They pitched tents in front of the building and made bonfires. On Monday, they bricked up the entrance to the bank, writing Rusbank in big letters on its windows, and painting the national emblem of Ukraine on the central entrance door. Police did not interfere, saying they saw no violation of law in that situation.

Members of Ukraine’s nationalist battalion Azov and Right Sector (an organization outlawed in Russia) also pledged on Monday to remain on duty round-the-clock at all Sberbank offices in Ukraine to disrupt their activity. Thus they seek to make the National Bank of Ukraine revoke the license, and make the parliament pass a law banning the activity of Russian banks in Ukraine.

The National Bank of Ukraine announced on March 7 that it is ready to impose sanctions on Sberbank’s subsidiary in Ukraine, if reports about the bank providing services in Russia to customers with passports of Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics is confirmed.

On Tuesday, the Sberbank subsidiary in Ukraine has appealed to Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko to assist in having the blockade lifted. The bank said that it employs more than 2,000 Ukrainian nationals and "is one of the major Ukrainian commercial banks... conducting its activity on the basis of a license from the National Bank of Ukraine, strictly within the framework of Ukrainian law". The bank is one of the biggest taxpayers in Ukraine with payments to the state and local budgets amounting to an equivalent of $67 million in the past three years.

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