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Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has received an unsolicited expression of interest for its Russian operation as the Ukraine war drags on.

The news comes as RBI continues to review all the strategic options for its Russian business, including a “carefully managed exit“.

Notably, the Austrian lender is one of the few international banks with significant exposure to Russia.

Moscow is facing unprecedented economic sanctions over invasion of Ukraine that has triggered a mass exodus of western firms operating in Russia

According to Reuters’ report, speaking to analysts RBI CEO Johann Strobl revealed that the bank has been “approached” and in the coming weeks it will assess the interest of interested parties.

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RBI’s options include full or partial divesture of the business or creating a spin-off, Strobl said adding that the process may take some time.

“We want to get an understanding as quickly as possible what options we have,” he noted.

RBI’s chief noted that the bank’s subsidiaries are well capitalised.

Additionally, months before that war began, provision worth €115m had been undertaken for sanctions and geopolitical risks in the region.

The lender said that its Russian arm had ‘practically’ stopped issuing new loans at the end of February.

The decision led to a fall of 8.7% in the loan portfolio from €11.6bn to €10.6bn in the first quarter of 2022.

However, customer accounts and deposits with the Russian unit rose by 9.6% to €16.2bn from €14.8bn.

Other than the bank, RBI’s Russian business includes leasing, insurance, and management operations.

Last month, French bank Societe Generale and Interros Capital signed a deal, which marked the lender’s exit from Russia.