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US lifts sanctions against former European branch of Russia's VTB Bank

by Martin Fornusek April 3, 2024 9:37 AM 1 min read
Illustrative purposes only: A customer exits a branch of VTB Bank OJSC in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The U.S. has removed the former European subsidiary of the Russian VTB Bank from its sanctions list, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said on April 2.

Germany-based Ost-West Handelsbank has been removed from the list, according to the information on the Treasury's website. The positions with names under which the bank used to operate earlier – VTB Bank Deutschland and VTB Bank Europe – were also struck down.

The U.S. announced extensive anti-Russian sanctions that also targeted VTB Bank at the offset of Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

In the wake of the sanctions, German authorities wrested control of the Frankfurt-based subsidiary from its Russian parent in April 2022 and appointed a special representative to help run it.

VTB Europe officially changed its name to Ost-West Handelsbank in November 2023.

Since the outbreak of the full-scale war, the U.S. and its partners have imposed extensive sanctions against Russian entities, individuals, and other actors aiding Moscow's aggression against Ukraine.

The scope of the restrictions made Russia the single most sanctioned country in the world.

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2022 heralded a new era for Russia’s banks. Increasingly isolated from the global economy and laden with heavy Western sanctions, the sector saw profits fall by 90 percent compared to 2021. For Russia’s technocrats, the future seemed dim. Then came 2023. Russia’s Central Bank announced last week
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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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