Russian units of major Western banks began hiring staff this month after Moscow blocked them from leaving the country, Reuters informed Thursday.

After the Kremlin’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Western banks in Russia began firing foreign nationals from executive positions and exploring ways to exit the market, but they recently started hiring again after realizing they would not be able to fire them easily.

Deputy Minister of Finance Alyaksei Moiseev last week said Moscow will block the sale of Russian business by foreign banks until Russian banks abroad can operate normally.

The Central Bank also refused to take control of local enterprises of foreign banks, Reuters reports, citing sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

After little hiring activity in Russia from April to June, foreign banks started posting a number of vacancies in July, the leading online recruitment platform Headhunter told Reuters.

Raiffeisen Bank posted 276 vacancies in Russia in July, while Citi had 84 vacancies, Headhunter said.

Some of these roles were for management positions.

The Russian branch of the Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International announced a vacancy for a manager in Moscow in mid-July, Reuters reports.

Citibank Russia, part of Citigroup, was hiring a loan manager with a salary of up to 200,000 rubles ($3,609), as well as a junior expert, online job postings showed.

The Russian business of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo has been hiring for customer service and foreign currency settlement, according to online job postings.

UniCredit Bank Russia, part of the UniCredit Group, had 10 IT-related vacancies, according to Reuters.

Raiffeisen, Intesa and UniCredit did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Citigroup declined to comment but said it was exploring all options for pulling its consumer and commercial banking businesses out of the country.

By the end of 2021, foreign banks accounted for 11% of Russia’s total banking capital, according to the latest data from the Central Bank.

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