French bank BNP Paribas has said that is planning to cut 1,600 jobs at its Ukrainian unit as political turmoil escalated after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine.

The bank, which had 7,155 employees in Ukraine at the end of 2013, closed 84 branches of its Ukrainian unit UkrSibBank last year as it rationalised its business in the country and currently has around 500 branches.

However, BNP Paribas CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said that UkrSibBank would continue to operate despite the tensions in the country.

On Russia, Bonnafe said BNP would comply with sanctions and distance itself from "a number of" counterparties, without giving specific details.

"The sanctions would likely hurt the Russian economy," he added.

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