Zelenskyy Wants Big Banks Prosecuted For War Crimes

July 31, 2022

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s economic advisor Oleg Ustenko has said that the Ukrainian government believes that big banks are aiding Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine through financing companies that trade oil in Russia. This includes JPMorgan, HSBC and Citigroup.

CNBC Interview

He revealed this in an interview with CNBC, where Ustenko was asked if he wants to see these banks convicted for war crimes, to which he answered, “Exactly.”

He also said that Zelenskyy himself believes they should be held accountable for prolonging the conflict in Ukraine, which has seen over 5,000 civilians killed and caused the Ukrainian economy to decline by an expected 35-40%.

Ustenko also said that the Ukrainian government, namely the Ministry of Justice and the security service, is spending time collecting information about which companies are financing Russia and plans to take all of the evidence to the International Criminal Court.

Pressure On Banks

This is likely to pressure major US and European banks to cut ties with groups that are trading Russian oil, following a letter sent to the chiefs of these banks last week. It asks them to cut off financing for businesses that sell shares to Gazprom and Rosneft and trade Russian oil and warns that these banks will not be permitted to take part in the reconstruction of Ukraine when the war is over.

In an attempt to stay on the right side of history and save their reputation, we are likely to see these banks cutting their ties with Russian oil. However, the knock-on effect on global economics and the stock market of this could be significant, with banks having reduced capacity to sell stocks to big Russian companies resulting in lower stock market rankings.

Already the UK is suffering from increased energy bills thanks in part to delays and complications with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which sends 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Europe, bypassing Ukraine. Further complications with Russian gas could escalate this.

It’s also obvious that the Ukrainian economy is likely to suffer the more the conflict goes on, especially if these banks do not pull out of Russian deals impacting the overall global market significantly.