The Treasury Department said in a statement that it was forced to repay $649.2 million (CZK 14.5 billion) to foreign ruble debt holders.
It made payments on foreign debt on dollar bonds denominated in Russian after the correspondent bank refused to carry out the payment order. A Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday that Russia had all the funds it needed to meet its debt obligations. He added that any state bankruptcy would only be artificial. “There is no reason for real bankruptcy,” he said.
The global rating agency said Russia now had an additional 30-day period to pay in dollars. However, if the payment does not appear in the bondholder’s account within this period, it means bankruptcy.
This is another blow to Russia in its bid to avoid bankruptcy in light of the extensive economic sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
The payment relates to the payment of bonds maturing this month and other proceeds maturing only in April 2042. The Russian Ministry stated that it has paid obligations to the holders of these bonds maturing on April 4 in full in rubles, through financial institutions Russia. institution. He indicated that he thus considered his duty fulfilled.
However, according to the ministry, Russia could consider allowing bondholders to exchange ruble payments into foreign currency as soon as they regain access to their foreign exchange accounts.
Russia has limited dollar payouts. It has previously been stated that they will not be able to pay bond yields because of this, but eventually banks can make payments in dollars.
However, conditions tightened for Russia on Monday, which prevented it from paying interest on bonds held by US banks, The New York Times reported, citing a spokeswoman for the US Treasury. The goal is to reduce Russia’s foreign exchange reserves or force it to pay oil and gas bond yields. Failure to do so could lead to state bankruptcy.
According to the newspaper, Russia will pay back $2 billion in bonds and $84 million in yields on Monday. But last week, Russia bought back about three-quarters of the bonds in exchange for rubles. This is an unusual move, but it has reduced the Russian dollar liability to 552 million.
The US Treasury Department on Monday blocked this payment, but Russia still has 30 days to pay it off before it can be declared technically bankrupt.
“Defaulting on the sovereign debt will be a powerful symbol of the crippling wounds Russia has suffered in the world economy due to a combination of financial, trade and technological sanctions,” commented former International Monetary Fund executive Eswar Prasad.
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