Some Russian banking staff will be exempt from draft, bank CEO says

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Sept 22 (Reuters) – Some personnel working in Russia’s banking sector deemed critically important will be exempt from the country’s military call-up, the CEO of Russia’s No. 2 bank VTB said on Thursday.

“For banks and companies in the financial sector, a number of critical staff will be identified who will not be called up,” VTB head Andrei Kostin said.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists on Wednesday, although Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the mobilisation would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers.

In Other Developments


* In Moscow’s first update on casualty numbers in Ukraine almost six months, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the conflict in February.

* Russian forces fired nine missiles at the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, hitting a hotel and a power station, said regional governor Oleksandr Starukh. At least one person was killed with others trapped under rubble, he said. Zaporizhzhia is about 50 km (31 miles) from the nuclear power plant of the same name.

* Ukraine’s armed forces said Russia had in the last 24 hours launched eight missile and 16 air strikes and fired 115 anti-aircraft missiles at military and civilian targets, mostly in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk areas.


* Russia and Ukraine carried out an unexpected prisoner swap, the largest since the war began in February and involving almost 300 people, including 10 foreigners.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons was “dangerous and reckless rhetoric”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

* Russian security forces by late Wednesday detained nearly 1,400 people in 38 cities at protests against Putin’s order for the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight in Ukraine, a rights group said.

* One-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast after the mobilisation order.

* U.S. President Joe Biden said Moscow was making “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats to use nuclear weapons. Biden said no one had threatened Russia, despite its claims to the contrary, and that only Russia had sought conflict.

* Western allies said threats to use nuclear weapons show Russia’s Ukraine campaign was failing.

* European Union foreign ministers agreed to prepare new sanctions on Russia and increase arms deliveries to Kyiv.

* China’s position on Ukraine will continue to be “objective” and “fair”, foreign minister Wang Yi told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly in New York.

* Uzbekistan state prosecutors warned citizens against joining foreign armies after Russia offered fast-track citizenship to those who sign up.

* Pro-Russian figures announced referendums for Sept. 23-27 in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory.


* The head of the U.N. atomic agency said he would not abandon a plan to create a protection zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant despite Russian mobilisation plans and moves to hold a referendum in the region.


* Germany nationalised gas importer Uniper and Britain said it would halve energy bills for businesses in response to a deepening energy crisis that has exposed Europe’s reliance on Russian fuel.


* “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people – this is not a bluff.” -Putin in a televised address.

A man walks past a large banner reading ‘The task will be executed’ placed on the facade of a building in downtown Moscow, Russia. EPA-EFE/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

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