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Russia and Cuba working to counter US sanctions – ambassador

The two nations under restrictions are aiming to protect bilateral trade, an envoy has said

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Moscow and Havana have been implementing financial mechanisms to shield their economic cooperation from US sanctions, Russian Ambassador to Cuba Andrey Guskov revealed last week.

“The introduction of independent settlement mechanisms is being successfully carried out, which will help protect cooperation with Cuba from the negative impact of the US trade, economic and financial blockade, as well as establish ties bypassing the financial organizations of unfriendly states,” the Russian diplomat said.

In January, the chairman of the Russia-Cuba Business Council, Boris Titov, said that in order to mitigate the effect of Western sanctions, the countries are considering new mechanisms for mutual settlements, including in ruble and cryptocurrencies, as well as clearing schemes.

Moscow has been also promoting its SPFS interbank messaging system as an alternative to SWIFT as the West has ramped up economic restrictions. Nearly 470 participants, including foreign entities from 14 countries, have already joined the SPFS. Russia has also accelerated efforts to move away from the US dollar and euro towards settlements in national currencies.

More countries join Russia’s SWIFT alternative – Central Bank

Cuba has been under US sanctions for more than 60 years, with Washington systematically ramping up the punitive measures. Meanwhile, Russia is currently the world’s most sanctioned country after the US and its allies introduced over 11,000 individual restrictions against the nation over the conflict in Ukraine.

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