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Russian banks willing to withdraw from Ukrainian market, Kremlin says

The operations of the Russian banks in Ukraine are dangerous now, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said
A protest outside of a branch of Sberbank of Russia in Kiev, Ukraine EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
A protest outside of a branch of Sberbank of Russia in Kiev, Ukraine

MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russian lenders would like to withdraw from the Ukrainian market, as their operations there are in danger now, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"(Russian) bankers have voiced their position, which is probably more important since they act in the best interest of their shareholders first of all," he said, adding that they are willing to "minimize the potential damage in case of an attempt to withdraw from the Ukrainian market as soon as possible."

According to Peskov, "Ukraine is not a country with attractive investment climate at the moment." "This is a country with quite a threatening investment environment and high risks for investors," Kremlin spokesman said. He assumes that the sanctions Kiev levied against Russian lenders threaten not only subsidiaries of Russian banks but "Ukrainian economy, meaning Ukrainian taxpayers, common Ukrainians."

"Of course, now the operations of those (Russian) banks (in Ukraine) are in danger since further actions of the Ukrainian authorities are unpredictable," Peskov said, adding that the country’s authorities "are often unable to restore order in terms of opposing extremists."

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.