Russia will speed up work on reducing its dependence on US payment systems and the dollar as a settling currency in response to US sanctions, RIA new agency cited Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday.
“We will of course intensify work related to import substitution, reduction of dependence on U.S. payment systems, on the dollar as a settling currency and so on. It is becoming a vital need,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying in a report that was also carried by Reuters.
US President Donald Trump signed into law new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. It reduces from 30 days to 14 days the maximum allowed maturity for new debt and new extensions of credit to the state controlled financial institutions targeted under the sanctions.
It also reduces from 90 days to 60 days the maximum allowed maturity for new debt and new extensions of credit to sanctions targets in the energy sector, although this largely only brings US sanctions in line with existing EU sanctions, which already impose a 30-day maximum for most energy companies.
The bill also expands the existing Executive Order authorizing sanctions to include additional sectors of the Russian economy: railways and metals and mining.
Indications had earlier grown that Russia was considering to move away from the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system, or the SWIFT system, which allows easy transfer of money internationally, such as via American express.
This was a result of threats by international banks that they would bar Russian access to SWIFT in light of rising political tensions between Moscow and Washington.
There have also been reports that Moscow was considering to ditch the dollar in its trade with several countries including Iran and China – in what appeared to have been a policy to cushion Russia against US sanctions.