Moscow, 16 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The dollar's slide against the euro may force Russia to spend an extra $400 million to pay off its debts to European countries, a government official said today. Russia's hard-currency reserves are held in dollars and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters today that if the exchange rate stays at one euro to one dollar, Moscow "will probably have to disburse $350-400 million more" in debt payments to mostly European countries.
But Kudrin dismissed suggestions that Russia reconsider keeping reserves in dollars. He added that Moscow's special reserves for paying off foreign debt is enough to handle the extra burden.
The dollar fell below parity with the euro yesterday for the first time in more than two years.