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TRENTO: The European Central Bank hopes euro zone banks will soon sell their Russian assets, the ECB’s top supervisor, Andrea Enria, said on Friday as Moscow teetered on the brink of default.

With Russia’s economy shrinking and isolated by sweeping sanctions imposed by the West over its invasion of Ukraine, many euro zone lenders including France’s Societe Generale and Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International have left or are looking to leave the country.

“All European banks have said they would sell, they’re all trying to sell,” Enria said at an event in Italy. “Some have sold or are in negotiations - it’s not an easy process, I hope it will be completed shortly”.

RBI is assessing interest from potential buyers of its Russian bank - the country’s 10th largest - but it has warned the process may take time.

SocGen has sold its Russian unit and UniCredit disposed of some of its assets in the country via swaps.

Enria repeated that the direct impact of Russia’s economic crisis for euro zone banks was “manageable” and banks would generally cope well with a prolonged recession resulting from the crisis in Ukraine even though some may struggle.

Russia’s failure to pay $1.9 million in accrued interest on a dollar bond will trigger payouts potentially worth billions of dollars, a panel of investors determined this week.

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