West accused of engineering ‘artificial default’ in Russia — RT Business News

Moscow is ready to repay its debts, but half of the country’s foreign exchange reserves are frozen abroad

Washington and its allies want to push Russia into “artificial default” by making it impossible to repay the country’s foreign debts when it has the money to do so, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Monday.

“The freezing of foreign currency accounts of the Bank of Russia and the Russian government can be considered as the will of a number of foreign countries to organize an artificial default that has no real economic basis”, said the minister.

The latest wave of Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis has targeted Russia’s banking and financial sectors, with almost half of the country’s foreign currency reserves, worth $300 billion, frozen by foreign central banks.

Russia is due to pay $117 million on two of its dollar-denominated bonds on Wednesday. Siluanov says the country is able to honor its debts and will pay the debt using the national currency – the ruble.

“Claims that Russia cannot meet its sovereign debt obligations are false,” he said. “We have the necessary funds to honor our obligations.”

Last week, international ratings agency Fitch further downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating into junk territory, saying a default is “imminent”. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has warned that a Russian debt default is no longer an “unlikely event”, stressing that Moscow has plenty of cash it can no longer use.

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