Putin directs experts to focus on trade payments with 'hostile' countries

Russia: On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin set up an international payments working committee, tasked with determining terms for transactions with "unfriendly" countries. Putin warned in March that Russia, the world's largest natural gas producer, would oblige unfriendly countries to pay for fuel in roubles by creating accounts with Gazprombank and making payments in euros or dollars, which would then be translated into Russian currency.  When Poland and Bulgaria failed to comply, Russia's Gazprom shut them off last month. Anyone who refuses to accept the new payment terms would face the same consequences,  Kremlin said.

According to the order, the working group will develop "an infrastructure for international payments, including in Russian roubles, with trading partners from other states and territories that engage in hostile acts against Russia."
It would also investigate payment conditions in roubles and other national currencies with friendly countries, like as China and India, though no names were given.

The panel, which will be led by presidential adviser Maxim Oreshkin and will include top officials like Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, will also be entrusted with identifying ways to mitigate the risks connected with the freezing of over half of Russia's USD 640 billion in foreign reserves.

Russia has been sanctioned heavily by Western countries for sending troops into Ukraine on February 24. Moscow claims to be conducting a "special military operation" in Ukraine to disarm the country and rid it of "dangerous nationalists."  Russia is enacting counter-sanctions and has authorised a list of "unfriendly" countries that includes the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and European Union members.

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