Putin says Russia is diverting trade to BRICS countries

(CNN) — Returning to the world stage amid his war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia is redirecting its trade towards “reliable international partners” such as the BRICS countries.

“We are actively engaged in redirecting our foreign trade flows and economic contacts to reliable international partners, mainly the BRICS countries,” Putin said in his video opening address to the BRICS Summit participants.

The BRICS is a grouping of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

According to Putin, trade between Russia and the BRICS “increased by 38% and reached $45 billion” in the first quarter of 2022.

“Contacts between Russian business circles and the business community of the BRICS countries have intensified. For example, negotiations are under way to open Indian chain stores in Russia, increase the share of Chinese cars, equipment and hardware in our market,” Putin said, adding that Russia is expanding its presence in the BRICS and increasing oil exports to China and India.

The Russian president added that the Russian financial messaging system is open to the connection of the banks of the five countries, the Russian payment system MIR is expanding its geography and the countries are working on the creation of “an international reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of the countries [BRICS]”.

“Together with the BRICS partners, we are developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements,” Putin said.

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In his speech, Putin accused the West of neglecting “the basic principles of the market economy, free trade and the inviolability of private property.”

“There is an intentional destruction of cooperation ties; transport and logistics chains are destroyed. And all this is contrary to common sense and basic economic logic, it undermines commercial interests on a global scale, negatively affecting the well-being of people, indeed, from all countries,” he said.

Xi says sanctions “are a weapon for the world economy” and calls for macroeconomic “solidarity” in his speech to the BRICS

For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping criticized the sanctions as a “double-edged sword”, while calling for “solidarity” to overcome the current global economic slowdown, during his opening speech at the virtual summit of the BRICS.

“Facts have once again shown that sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword, politicizing, instrumentalizing and arming the world economy,” Xi said, adding that they take advantage of the “international financial system” to “harm the the peoples of the world”.

Xi has continued to call on Western nations to examine the impact of sanctions against Russia on the world economy, while urging “solidarity” to strengthen post-pandemic recovery, points he reiterated on Wednesday.

“At this critical moment, only by adhering to solidarity can we overcome the economic crisis. We must think in one direction and work hard in one direction, strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, and prevent the global recovery from slowing down,” he said in the top.

The BRICS summit — hosted by Beijing — marks Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first international forum with other heads of major economies since he launched his invasion of Ukraine in February.

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