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Russia announces that it has settled a dollar debt in rubles – RT in French

Russia had to settle a debt of 649.2 million dollars in rubles, due to the blocking of a foreign bank which refused to make the payment in the North American currency. The Kremlin assures that Russia will honor its debts.

The Russian Ministry of Finance announced on April 6 that it had settled a debt in dollars in rubles following the refusal of a foreign bank to make the payment in dollars.

“A foreign bank refused to execute instructions” for payment of $649.2 million due April 4, the ministry said in a statement, saying it had therefore been “forced to appeal to an institution Russian financial institution to make the necessary payments […] in the currency of the Russian Federation”.

For several weeks, Russia managed to avert the danger of a default, with the US Treasury allowing the use of foreign currencies held by Moscow abroad to settle foreign debts. On April 5, however, the US Treasury Department announced that it would no longer allow Russia to repay its debt with dollars held in US banks, adding to the pressure. This measure was taken as early as April 4, the deadline for a Russian payment of a two billion dollar bond issued in 2012.

“Significant reserves [se trouvant] in foreign states have been blocked; if this freeze continues and the transfers to repay our debts using these frozen funds are also blocked, the management of the debts can be carried out in roubles. If this proves impossible, a payment default can be declared in theory, but it is a completely artificial default. There is no reason for a real default,” reacted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, questioned during a press briefing on April 6, affirming that “Russia has all the necessary means to manage its debts”.

Prior to this payment, Russia had already offered creditors to buy back their debts and repay them in advance in roubles, a measure allowing Russian creditors to obtain their money without the complications linked to sanctions, but also to authorities from having to pay fewer dollars.

In retaliation for the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, part of the Russian reserves held abroad, around 300 billion dollars, are frozen under Western sanctions. A payment default cuts a State off from the financial markets and jeopardizes its return for years.


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