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Kyrgyz Banks Suspend Money Transfers With Russia

Kyrgyz Bakai Bank office in Bishkek. Zarema Sultan (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Major banks in the Central Asia republic of Kyrgyzstan have suspended money transfers to and from Russia amid exchange rate volatility and issues with payment systems, state-run media reported on Thursday.

RSK Bank, Kyrgyzstan’s second-largest lender, said the Astrasend, Contact, Zolotaya Korona and Sberbank Online money transfer systems were temporarily down due to technical problems. Kyrgyzkommertsbank and Kompanion Bank said the Unistream transfer system was also down.

Kyrgyzstan’s Mbank, meanwhile, announced restrictions on ruble conversions “[d]ue to the volatility of the exchange rate and possible sharp fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.” However, the bank added that clients’ ruble-denominated accounts were safe.

Bai-Tushum and DemirBank also suspended their ruble-dollar conversion services, owing to exchange rate volatility.  

The money transfer suspensions in Kyrgyzstan come a day after Washington revealed a new raft of sanctions to hinder Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine, including restrictions against the Moscow Exchange, which on Thursday halted dollar and euro trade. 

The U.S. sanctioned the Unistream transfer system in July 2023, which prompted a number of Kyrgyz banks to temporarily stop using the system.

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