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Russia default risk mounts as Moscow threatens ruble repayments

Nearly half of foreign-currency reserves frozen under Western sanctions

Russia has threatened to make payments on dollar-denominated debt in rubles, even when bond terms do not allow for it.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- As deadlines approach for payments on Russian sovereign debt, concerns are growing that Moscow may in effect choose to default, as the loss of access to much of its foreign-currency reserves leaves the government with few options.

Russia has more than $100 million in coupon payments on dollar-denominated debt coming due Wednesday, with a 30-day grace period, which would put it in default if it fails to pay by April 15. Principal payments totaling $300 million and $2 billion are due March 31 and April 4, respectively.

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