Three of China's four largest banks have stopped accepting payments from sanctioned Russian financial institutions since the beginning of 2024, the Russian state news outlet Izvestiya reported on Feb. 21, citing Russian business leaders.

The restrictions have been introduced by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the China Construction Bank (CCB), and the Bank of China, the outlet said.

The effect of Western sanctions, imposed due to Moscow's aggression against Ukraine, appears to be setting in. Earlier this month, China's Chouzhou Commercial Bank announced that it is halting all operations in Russia and Belarus due to complications caused by the sanctions.

Izvestiya wrote that the ICBC, the CCB, and the Bank of China notified Russian clients that they would stop accepting payments. Since then, they have allegedly stopped working with Russian credit institutions under sanctions.

The outlet said that Chinese institutions are likely afraid of the secondary impacts of U.S. sanctions due to interaction with Russian banks and companies.

Financial operations with non-sanctioned banks are reportedly still ongoing.

As the U.S. and the EU continue ramping up their sanctions against Russia, both powers are now openly considering imposing restrictions on Chinese companies that are helping Russia avoid sanctions. The EU proposed to include such measures in its 13th sanctions package, while U.S. Congress members said last week they might take a similar step.

Beijing has maintained close ties with Moscow during the war, increasing economic cooperation and disrupting Western attempts at isolating Russia.