Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country should create its own national payment settlement system to reduce its reliance on West amid heightened tensions over Crimea.
Putin told lawmakers in televised remarks on Thursday that such systems worked in countries like Japan and China.
“Initially, they started out solely as national systems limited to their own markets, their own territory, their own population, but they are becoming more popular right now,” the Russian President said, adding, “Why should we not do it? We should definitely do it and we will do it.”
Putin’s remarks came after two American financial companies Visa and MasterCard stopped providing services for payment transactions for clients at Bank Rossiya, following Washington’s sanctions imposed in response to Crimea rejoining Russia.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier, in which 96.8 percent of Crimean residents voted in favor of the secession. The voter turnout in the referendum stood at 83.1 percent.
The move sparked angry reactions from the United States and the European Union, both imposing punitive measures against a number of Russian officials and authorities in Crimea.
Ukrainian lawmakers have announced that they will never recognize the reunification of Crimea with Russia, vowing to fight for the liberation of the region as long as it takes.