For the first time, Russia has successfully paid foreign holders of Eurobonds is Rubles, after an initial attempt to settle $649.2 million U.S. was rejected by a foreign financial institution under orders from Washington.
At the start of the week, the U.S. Treasury stopped Russia from paying holders of its sovereign debt in excess of $600 million U.S. from reserves held in U.S. bank accounts, stating that the Kremlin either chose between draining its dollar reverse or defaulting.
Strict sanctions imposed on the Kremlin due to the Ukrainian conflict, has left nearly half of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves worth over $300 billion U.S. frozen and inaccessible.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that
“Russia has all necessary resources to service its debts… If this blockade continues and payments aimed for servicing debts are blocked, it (future payment) could be made in rubles.”
Russia has a total of 15 international bonds outstanding, with a face value of approximately $40 billion U.S. Moscow successfully made several foreign exchange coupon payments on its Eurobonds before Washington halted transactions.
Currently, Moscow has a 30 day grace period to make dollar payments, and if not made global rating agencies claim Russia would default.
The Kremlin, however has dismissed the notion, stating that Russia has the required funds and is willing to pay its debts in full. In response, Moscow has described the blocking of its payments by the West as a default and a failure to maintain their financial obligations to Russia.
Peskov went on to say that “in theory, a default situation could be created but this would be a purely artificial situation,” and that “there are no grounds for a real default.”