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The European Union has imposed a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks as part of its fifth round of sanctions against Moscow.
Russian lenders, Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Sovcombank, and VTB Bank have been slammed with the new EU sanctions.
“A full transaction ban is imposed on four key Russian banks representing 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector. After being de-SWIFTed these banks will now be subject to an asset freeze, thereby being completely cut off from EU markets,” the EU Council said in a statement.
Earlier, the EU cut off VTB Bank, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, Rossiya, Otkritie and VEB.RF from SWIFT, a global system for interbank payments.
EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said: “These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation.
“The aim of our sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision-makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost.”
With the new restrictions in place, the EU sanctions now apply to 80 entities and 1091 individuals.
Separately, the Japanese government announced its decision to freeze the assets of Sberbank and Alfa-Bank, a TASS report said.
Japan’s announcement comes after the G7 members said that they will continue targeting Russian lenders in response to Moscow’s military aggression toward Ukraine.