At Vienna rally, activists call on Raiffeisen shareholders urged to pull out of Russia

At Vienna rally, activists call on Raiffeisen shareholders urged to pull out of Russia

Ukrainians living in Vienna held a picket outside a hotel, where the annual general meeting of the Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) took place on Thursday, demanding that the institution quit the Russian market over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

That’s according to Ukrinform’s own correspondent in Austria.

We gathered today as Raiffeisen Bank International's shareholders are holding an annual general meeting. We handed out leaflets to the shareholders as they were arriving. We saw that about half of the shareholders are happy to take them. If we manage to reach out to at least a third of the shareholders who will raise the issue of pulling out of Russia, then it can finally move from reflection and discussion to concrete action," said Andrii Karioti, an activist with the local Ukrainian community, who organized the rally.

Read also: UK foreign secretary lists conditions for lifting sanctions against Russia

Despite rainy weather, dozens of Ukrainians carrying national symbols rallied at the entrances to the Hilton hotel complex, located next to the RBI office, handing out leaflets urging the bank to suspend operations in Russia and thus cease co-financing bloodshed in Ukraine.

They also carried posters reading "Raiffeisen, stop supporting Putin!", "No business with dictatorship!", "Raiffeisen, stop all operations in Russia!", "Raiffeisen, stop sponsoring war in Ukraine!" etc.

According to Karioti, the RBI shareholders' meeting is a perfect moment to "take a step towards ensuring that the strategic decision to pull out of Russia is not just words."

“Statements about Raiffeisen Bank International considering leaving the Russian market are not enough. At a time when Ukrainian military and civilians are dying from Russian strikes, RBI is co-financing Putin's military machine. Today they have to decide whether they’re willing to further finance Russian bombs or to distance themselves from these humiliating actions," the activist said.

No incidents occurred at the rally, while Austrian police were monitoring the observance of public order.

As Ukrinform reported, on March 21, a picket was held near the headquarters of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) in Vienna demanding the closure of RBI's subsidiary in Russia.

Against the background of the withdrawal of many international banks from Russia due to the ongoing war against Ukraine, Raiffeisenbank Russia continues to operate on the Russian market. The RBI only said it was considering all strategic options for its daughter company’s future in Russia, including a carefully planned exit. However, the banking group has not yet made a move to suspend operations in Russia.

As reported, a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing since February 24. The invaders have been destroying infrastructure and massively shelling residential areas, killing Ukrainian civilians, using artillery, rockets, and ballistic missiles, as well as dropping bombs.

The entire Ukrainian people stood up against the enemy and gave the Russians a decent rebuff.

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