Putin seeks stronger ties with Brics nations amid sanctions

MOSCOW • Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a strengthening of ties with the influential club of Brics emerging economies, amid unprecedented Western sanctions imposed over his invasion of Ukraine.

"Businessmen of our countries are forced to develop their business under difficult conditions, where Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, as well as the inviolability of private property," Mr Putin told a Brics business forum.

On the eve of a Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa) virtual summit on Wednesday, the Russian leader denounced "the permanent implementation of new politically motivated sanctions" that contradict "common sense and basic economic logic".

He said Russia is "actively redirecting its trade flows and external economic contacts towards reliable international partners, above all the Brics countries".

The West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia, including restrictions on imports of its oil, after the Kremlin sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb 24.

The barrage of sanctions has pushed Mr Putin to seek new markets and strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia.

Mr Putin said discussions were ongoing on the opening of Indian chain stores in Russia and increasing the share of Chinese automobiles in the Russian market.

Russia is also developing "alternative international transfer mechanisms" with Brics partners and an "international reserve currency" to reduce dependence on the dollar and euro, Mr Putin added.

"The Russian Financial Messaging System is open for connection with the banks of the Brics countries... We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of Brics currencies."

He said Russia was in the process of rerouting its trade and oil exports towards Brics countries.

"Russian oil deliveries to China and India are increasing. Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically", as is the export of Russian fertiliser to Brics countries, he said.

According to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs, China's crude oil imports from Russia were up 55 per cent from a year earlier to a record level last month, displacing Saudi Arabia as China's top supplier, as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies.

Russia is trying to forge closer ties with Asia, seeking to supplant the markets it lost in the row with the European Union and the United States.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline Putin seeks stronger ties with Brics nations amid sanctions. Subscribe