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EU’s eastern countries to leave Soviet-era banks after Russian invasion

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Rouble coins are seen in this illustration taken, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania will quit two Soviet-era international banks which count Russia as their largest shareholder following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, their finance ministries said on Wednesday.

The move follows the announcement by the Czech Republic on Friday which said it would quit the International Bank for Economic Cooperation (IBEC) and the International Investment Bank (IIB) and called on other EU member states to do likewise.

“Due to the ongoing and escalating, unjustified, unprovoked and ruthless military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine…we decided to take steps to stop participating in the International Bank for Economic Cooperation and the International Investment Bank,” they said in a joint statement.

The Moscow-based IBEC and IIB – which moved its headquarters to the Hungarian capital Budapest from Moscow in 2019 – were set up by the Soviet Union to facilitate trade and investments in the communist bloc. They continued operating following its break-up.

The IIB member states are Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Vietnam, according to the bank’s website. It had assets worth 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) as of October 2021. Poland quit the bank in 2000.

The IBEC lists Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Vietnam as members and assets of 749 million euros as of last September.

($1 = 0.9017 euros)

EU’s eastern countries to leave Soviet-era banks after Russian invasion

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