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Russia moving away from ‘toxic’ dollar, euro, and SWIFT

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
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Russia says it will move away from the dollar, euro and SWIFT in commercial, economic, and investment relations with partners, as these currencies have become “toxic,” Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin has said.

The move is aimed at strengthening Russia’s independence and reducing its reliance on the outside world as the country has been hit hard by sanctions from the United States and the European Union ever since its operation began in Ukraine on February 24.

Russia’s ruble strengthened to a near four-week high against the dollar and euro on Friday.

“Against the growing geopolitical pressure from the ‘collective West’, the only way to guarantee stable trade, economic, and investment ties between Russia and its partners is to avoid the use of currencies that have become ‘toxic’, primarily the US dollar and the euro, and switch to settlements in acceptable alternatives, primarily in national currencies,” Pankin said in an interview with TASS.

He said the current global financial system built by Washington has proven to be "unsuitable for the conditions of a multipolar world order and has essentially become an instrument for achieving political goals of one group of countries."

"It is quite obvious that in the current conditions the West intends to continue to abuse its privileged position."

According to Pankin, the Bank of Russia is actively developing the Financial Message Transmission System, as the country bids farewell to SWIFT, a system used by more than 200 countries for financial messaging.

“We proceed from the need for a gradual transition from SWIFT to financial information transfer mechanisms protected from external pressure, for which we are actively developing the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) of the Bank of Russia. This is a forced, but completely natural decision in an environment where Russian banks and their clients regularly encounter problems with routine international payments.”

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Moscow will “continue to push and strengthen special economic programs to ensure the stability of the Russian economy.”

Iran has already announced the boycott of dollar in its trades with Russia. Tehran and Moscow both agree to accept their respective national currencies.

The Kremlin has witnessed the blocking of all Russian clients by the largest international card payment systems. Pankin says it is “unreasonable.” As a replacement, Moscow is negotiating with countries such as Azerbaijan, China and Egypt over the use of Mir payment card system.

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