According to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, Russian banks that have their foreign currency funds frozen due to western sanctions can suspend operations in such currencies with their corporate clients.
Russian authorities have commenced reducing the use of currencies of countries designated as “unfriendly” countries since Western countries imposed extensive sanctions after Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Putin’s decree said the new measures could remain until after lifting sanctions that impaired transactions in foreign currencies.
The sanctions have limited the foreign currency transfers that Russian banks can make from one to another.
Many have been cut off from the SWIFT global payments system. At the same time, Apple and Google withdrew access to their digital payments systems in Russia, and Russians can no longer use Mastercard and Visa cards abroad.
With their already limited cash holdings of hard currency, Russian banks have few options for investing in foreign currencies because of capital controls in Russia and the risk of funds abroad being frozen. These factors have caused some to introduce fees and commissions.
Russian authorities have voiced concerns about individual and corporate holdings of dollars and other so-called “unfriendly” currencies, calling for their conversion into alternative currencies and assets.