In the event of harsh Western sanctions as Russian forces invade Ukraine, retail customers could risk losing their savings.

Russians’ savings could be confiscated in response to sanctions against the country, according to Nikolai Arefiev, a member of the country’s Communist Party and vice-chairman of the Duma’s committee on economic policy.

The Russian government can potentially seize about 60 trillion rubles ($750 billion) worth of people’s deposits should Western nations decide to block all of Russia’s foreign funds, Arefiev said in an interview with the local news agency on Monday.

“If all the foreign funds are blocked, the government will have no other choice but to seize all the deposits of the population, or 60 trillion rubles in order to solve the situation,” the official stated, noting that Russia stores over $640 billion of gold and foreign exchange reserves abroad.

He also mentioned that potential sanctions against Russia include a possible disconnection from SWIFT and foreign exchange prohibitions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially announced a special military operation in Ukraine, potentially pulling the trigger on a set of sanctions on Russia’s largest banks, including state-backed Sberbank and VTB.

According to local reports, Sberbank mistakenly made a statement on being included in the list of sanctions by the United States on Thursday night but subsequently removed the notice, claiming that the statement was false and was caused by a “website crash.”

At the time of writing, Sberbank’s website reads that Sberbank and all…

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