Ukrainian security agents on Monday seized documents at the Kiev headquarters of Italy's UniCredit bank as part of a probe aimed at cutting off the suspected illicit financing of pro-Russian rebels in the separatist east.
The high-profile probe is part of increased efforts by Kiev's Western-backed leaders to choke off the insurgents' resources and force them to become an even bigger drain on Russia -- whose own economy is undergoing severe stress.
Moscow flatly denies partially bankrolling the guerrillas' 13-month uprising or supporting them with troops and tanks.
But Ukraine's financial battle has secured the support of Western states. The accounts of rebel leaders and top Russian officials believed to be orchestrating their campaign have been frozen in the United States and EU nations since last year and may remain so for the coming months.
A spokeswoman for Ukraine's State Security Service (SBU) said the snap inspections in Kiev were conducted "in order to halt possible operations aimed at financing terrorist organisations" in the separatist east.
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