Russia and China are working to establish cooperation between their respective financial messaging systems, a Russian lawmaker said, as Moscow faces tough Western sanctions on its financial system.

Several Russian banks have been banned from the SWIFT international payment network due to the invasion of Ukraine, hampering their efforts to move money out of Russia.

A messaging system developed by the Russian central bank – the Financial Message Transfer System (SPFS) – must allow the flow of national interbank traffic. However, it is limited in terms of the timeframes, size and complexity of the transactions it can process.

Another possible option is to connect to China’s CIPS payment platform. However, it can only be used to settle payments in yuan.

“In order to eliminate the risks associated with maintaining turnover, it is necessary to establish cooperation between the financial messaging systems of Russia and China,” said Anatoly Aksakov, head of the financial committee of the Lower House of the Russian Parliament.

“I know that work is being done on it,” he explained. “Our central bank is cooperating with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and I think the current situation will stimulate the relevant processes.”

The Russian Ministry of Finance declared that Moscow will use Chinese yuan from its foreign exchange reserves after the impossibility of accessing dollars and euros.

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