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UniCredit CEO says "progressive disengagement" from Russia needed - paper

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FILE PHOTO: UniCredit's new CEO Andrea Orcel pictured in 2013
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MILAN (Reuters) -UniCredit is working on a "progressive disengagement" from Russia, which is performing well from a financial standpoint, the Italian bank's chief executive told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore.

"Russia is performing financially and this cannot be overlooked," he said.

"On the other hand there are political considerations that must be taken into account: a progressive disengagement is needed ... to safeguard our clients and our staff."

Orcel said the direction of travel for the bank remained that set by the business plan he unveiled in December but he did not rule out "adjustments" given the situation.

"We're navigating rougher seas than anticipated," he said.

Orcel also stressed there was "nothing personal" in the board's decision on Wednesday to axe the role of Italy head held by long-time manager Niccolo Ubertalli and place the domestic business under the CEO's direct remit.

(Reporting by Valentina Za; editing by Agnieszka Flak)