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Report: VTB to close most of Ukrainian branches by summer

JSC VTB Bank will close almost all branches of its Ukrainian unit, PJSC VTB BANK, by the summer, with only one or two offices to remain open in Kiev, reported Feb. 16, citing VTB CEO Andrey Kostin.

Kostin reportedly noted that the Ukrainian lender is in the process of closing its offices across the country and settling its obligations with deposit holders.

VTB has been gradually curbing its business in Ukraine and trying to offload the unit after relations between Ukraine in Russia worsened following the 2014 annexation of Crimea and Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. In September 2017, Russian media outlets cited Kostin as saying he believed that Ukrainian authorities had no intention of allowing VTB to sell its Ukrainian unit and had been blocking the sale for political reasons, with at least two previous buyers rejected by the Ukrainian central bank.

In October, VTB's deputy head Yuri Soloviev said the lender wasstill looking for a buyer for the Ukrainian subsidiary, but would reduce its presence to several outlets in Kiev if the sale fell through.