US sanctions against VTB and Sberbank aim to disrupt Russian economy

US sanctions against Russia’s two largest banks are the toughest measures yet against the country’s financial system, but they leave room for companies, especially in the critical energy sector.

The United States on Thursday cut off Russia’s two largest banks direct access to the U.S. dollar, curtailing their business and posing a threat to Russia’s export economy. The state-controlled Sberbank and VTB together hold about half of all banking system assets and are major lenders and business service providers in the country. Every second business in Russia has an account at Sberbank, according to the country’s largest bank.


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