Siluanov says the country has all the funds necessary to pay off foreign debt
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Russia has ordered payment on two US dollar bond coupons due on Wednesday, but it is up to Western states, mainly the US, to withdraw the funds from the country’s frozen foreign currency accounts and pay bondholders, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says.
“The possibility or impossibility of fulfilling our obligations in foreign currency does not depend on us, we have the money, we made the payment, now the ball is in America’s court,” the official stated in an interview with RT Arabic. He added that Washington should clarify whether it is possible to make the payments from Russia’s foreign currency accounts.
Russia has to pay $117.2 million on two issues of its sovereign Eurobonds on March 16. The Finance Ministry announced on Monday that it had sent an order to transfer the payment to the international depository and clearing system Euroclear. The depository will then transfer the money to bondholders. The payment order is given in US dollars, but for bondholders to receive the money, it must be withdrawn from frozen Russian foreign currency accounts. But this could be tricky.
Nearly half of Russia’s reserves (around $300 billion) and foreign currency accounts of the Russian Central Bank (Bank of Russia) are frozen amid sanctions that followed the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine last month.