MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti/PRIME) – The Bank of England has exerted pressure on the British division of Russia’s second largest bank, VTB Capital, the head of VTB told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

According to VTB head Andrei Kostin, requirements imposed by the Bank of England contradict normal practices of supervision, which has led VTB to call on the Central Bank of Russia to assist in negotiations with the British regulator.

“The requirements contradict a professional approach. It seems to me they are more politically motivated. All the necessary tests have been carried out, the bank was labelled secure, stable, and posing no threat to the UK financial sector,” Kostin said, according to an article published Thursday by Izvestia.

Russian financial institutions have been in the international spotlight recently, after several Russian banks were denied services by Visa and MasterCard due to US-imposed sanctions. The move alarmed the general public and raised concerns about the security of the country’s financial system.

Commenting on plans by the Russian banking sector to move away from non-ruble transactions as a safeguard against possible further Ukraine-related sanctions, Kostin ruled out VTB withdrawing from foreign currency transactions.

“VTB will only shift to the ruble transactions if the whole world starts paying in rubles. But I do not deem this scenario possible,” the VTB chairman said.

Kostin stressed that external accounts and foreign trade constitute a large share of VTB activities.

“We have to serve our customers in all the currencies that are currently used for payment,” he said.

The US and the EU have imposed targeted sanctions against several Russian officials over the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s reunification with Crimea.  According to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, while the sanctions target individuals, there may be de facto restrictions for Russian companies.