Russia accuses West of seeking 'artificial default'

AP , Monday 14 Mar 2022

Russia's finance ministry on Monday accused foreign countries of wanting to force Russia into an "artificial default" through unprecedented sanctions over Ukraine and said it would meet its debt obligations.

Anton Siluanov
File Photo: Russian Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov at the press conference of G20 . AP

"The freezing of foreign currency accounts of the Bank of Russia and of the Russian government can be regarded as the desire of a number of foreign countries to organise an artificial default that has no real economic grounds," finance minister Anton Siluanov said in a statement.

Ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded Russia's sovereign debt rating farther into junk territory, warning that the decision reflects the view that a default is "imminent."

But Siluanov denied that Russia "cannot fulfil the obligations" of its government debt.

He said Russia "is ready to make payments in rubles" according to the exchange rate of Russia's central bank on the day of the payment, including its eurobond issued since 2018.

Sanctions on Moscow over its "military operation" in Ukraine delivered an unprecedented blow to Russia's banking and financial system, with a large part of its foreign currency reserves frozen.

Russia has boosted efforts to prevent money from leaving its borders and to support the ruble, which has already seen a precipitous drop in value against the dollar.

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