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MOSCOW, March 16 (Reuters) - The Russian arm of Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International is preparing to offer services to holders of passports from two self-proclaimed people's republics in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, its boss said on Thursday.
Sergei Monin told reporters the move followed consultations with Russia's central bank but might require the consent of the parent bank, which was not immediately available for comment.
"We posed some questions to our regulator but in principle we are preparing to work" with clients in the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, Monin said.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in the past three years in the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the breakaway pro-Russian regions. Moscow recognised passports issued by Donetsk and Luhansk in February.
In an escalation of tensions, the Ukrainian government said on Wednesday it was halting all cargo shipments from rebel-held areas, and the central bank said it would impose sanctions on the Ukrainian subsidiaries of Russian state-owned banks. (Reporting by Kira Zavyalova, writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)