Russians withdraw $1.3 billion from their bank accounts during the invasion of Ukraine
Russian individuals and businesses withdrew 111.3 billion rubles – or $1.3 billion – from their bank accounts on Wednesday and Thursday, Bank of Russia data shows, after the country started a war in Ukraine .
RBC.ru reported the surge in withdrawals on Friday, saying it was the highest demand for cash from Russians since late March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, when President Vladimir Putin also introduced an income tax. interest from large deposits. Then Russian citizens and businesses withdrew 174.9 billion rubles in one day.
The central bank figures also included the volume of cash withdrawals during Russia’s Feb. 23 holiday.
The Russian website noted that just 1.9 billion rubles had been withdrawn on February 22, hours after Putin recognized Donetsk and Luhansk – parts of Ukraine held by Russian rebels – as so-called people’s republics. .
The high drawdowns were boosted by Putin’s announcement on Thursday of war against Ukraine, a move that drew scathing criticism from most military powers except China. Russian stocks fell 33% and the ruble plunged to a record low on Thursday.
At least 137 Ukrainians have died, including civilians and children, and hundreds more have been injured as Russia continues its invasion. At least 1,000 Russian soldiers are also believed to have lost their lives, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said.
Troops clashed in several cities across Ukraine, including the capital kyiv, which was pounded by missiles. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Friday that kyiv is expected to face an onslaught of Russian tanks later in the day.
The city of more than 3 million people is being hit by Russian “cruise or ballistic missiles”, a government adviser told reporters by text message on Friday.
Ukrainian officials said a Russian plane was shot down and crashed into an apartment building in kyiv on Thursday evening, setting it on fire and injuring eight people, Reuters reported.
The city council has advised residents of the Obolon district of kyiv to stay at home due to the approach of the Russian army. Ukrainian troops took up positions around the city after Russian troops were seen in the northern suburbs and gunfire was heard near government buildings.
The Financial Times reported on Friday afternoon that the European Union was preparing to freeze the assets of Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as part of a third round of sanctions. Citing three sources close to the discussions, the newspaper reports that the sanctions will be approved this afternoon, along with several measures against Russian banks and companies.
There are fears that the war could trigger a new refugee crisis in Europe.
The UN refugee agency estimated on Thursday that 100,000 Ukrainians had fled their homes and several thousand had crossed into neighboring countries, mainly Moldova and Romania. The agency warned that this number could rise to 5 million if the war continues.
Ukraine-Russia Live Updates: Putin ready to negotiate as battle for kyiv begins.