MILAN, April 15 (Reuters) - UniCredit, Italy's biggest lender by assets, said on Tuesday it was suspending its operations and shutting all its branches in Ukraine's Crimea region, which is at the centre of escalating tensions between Kiev and Moscow.
"The bank, which operates under the laws of Ukraine, has no longer a legal basis for the functioning and providing banking services in the (Crimea) region," UniCredit's Ukrainian unit said in a statement posted on its website.
"We stress that the closure of branches in Crimea does not affect the bank's liabilities to customers. UniCredit Bank will continue to service current, card, deposit accounts and loans in its branches in other regions of Ukraine," it said. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi)