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Russian media: China's 3 biggest banks stop accepting payments from sanctioned Russian institutions

by Martin Fornusek February 21, 2024 10:45 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: Photo taken on Nov 10, 2023, shows the logo of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Three of China's four largest banks have stopped accepting payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions since the beginning of 2024, the Russian state news outlet Izvestiya reported on Feb. 21, citing Russian business leaders.

The restrictions have been introduced by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the China Construction Bank (CCB), and the Bank of China, the outlet said.

The effect of Western sanctions, imposed due to Moscow's aggression against Ukraine, appears to be setting in. Earlier this month, China's Chouzhou Commercial Bank announced that it is halting all operations in Russia and Belarus due to complications caused by the sanctions.

Izvestiya wrote that the ICBC, the CCB, and the Bank of China notified Russian clients that they would stop accepting payments. Since then, they have allegedly stopped working with Russian credit institutions under sanctions.

The outlet said that Chinese institutions are likely afraid of the secondary impacts of U.S. sanctions due to interaction with Russian banks and companies.

Financial operations with non-sanctioned banks are reportedly still ongoing.

As the U.S. and the EU continue ramping up their sanctions against Russia, both powers are now openly considering imposing restrictions on Chinese companies that are helping Russia avoid sanctions. The EU proposed to include such measures in its 13th sanctions package, while U.S. Congress members said last week they might take a similar step.

Beijing has maintained close ties with Moscow during the war, increasing economic cooperation and disrupting Western attempts at isolating Russia.

Explainer: China’s increasing role in Russia’s war against Ukraine
Just days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “friendship without limits,” agreeing there would be no “forbidden areas of cooperation.” Unsurprisingly then, Beijing did not condemn Russia’s all-out w…

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