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The European Central Bank has put banks on alert to make sure their systems cannot be used to avoid sanctions that the West has imposed on Russia after Ukraine’s invasion.

According to Reuters’ report, some banks in the European Union have been asked by the ECB supervisors to monitor transactions by all Russian and Belarusian customers, including those living in the EU.

These EU banks are on alert for large deposits, payments, and new credit applications. The move would place tens of thousands of Russians and Belarusians living in the EU under intense surveillance by their lenders, the sources told the news agency.

The ECB is ensuring that the lenders under its supervision “have in place the necessary arrangements to adhere to the sanctions”, a spokesperson for the central bank was quoted as saying.

Customers holding temporary or permanent EU residence permits are exempted from EU sanctions but the sanctions restrict Russian citizens from accessing banking services, which includes not allowing banks to accept deposits of more than $110,000 from Russian customers or entities.

The heightened scrutiny would make it harder even for EU residents to operate bank accounts.

The ECB supervisors are concerned that the banks in the union could face a heavy monetary fine if their clients use their systems to channel money on behalf of sanctioned individuals, two of the sources noted.