The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development won’t cease operations in Russia even as sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine leave new financing on hold, according to the president of the London-based lender.
“We have no intention of exiting Russia — we have a very large portfolio to manage,” Suma Chakrabarti said Wednesday in the EBRD’s offices in Kiev. He called media reports to the contrary “completely wrong.”
The U.S. and the EU imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed the Crimean peninsula two years ago, extending the measures as fighting worsened in the conflict in Ukraine’s easternmost regions. The EBRD invested 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion) in Russia in 2013, the most of any country that year, and about 25 billion euros between 1991 and 2013.
“Since July 2014 we’ve not been able to progress with new projects, but we have more than 200 existing projects which we have to manage,” Chakrabarti said.
The EBRD is owned by 65 countries, though dominated by those in North America and Europe. Russia is the bank’s seventh-biggest shareholder.