Global banking giant HSBC has decided to restrict its corporate clients from making commercial payments to and from Russia and Belarus.

The bank, which operates in more than 65 countries around the world including the UAE, came to the decision after the growing sanctions that are aimed at cutting off Russia’s access to the global financial markets have become “increasingly challenging” for the lender.

A swath of economic and financial sanctions has been imposed against Russia since the country waged a war against Ukraine in 2022. The sanctions are also targeted at Russia's close ally, Belarus.

“The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has resulted in an unprecedented volume of sanctions and trade restrictions imposed against Russia and Belarus,” a representative from HSBC said.

The source said that while the bank has taken several steps to comply with regulatory obligations, “it has become increasingly challenging to operationalise these complex restrictions globally”.

“We have therefore reached the decision to restrict commercial payments by our corporate entity customers to or from Russia and Belarus through HSBC.”

HSBC is one of the largest international banks in the Middle East. Since the war in Ukraine started, the region, particularly the UAE, has seen a huge influx of Russians buying properties in the country.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)