Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen here during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping weeks before the launch of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. During the meeting, the two countries signed a “limitless pact”

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In a transparent attempt to end his international isolation after the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for stronger ties between the BRICS, the bloc of five developing countries that includes China and India.

On Thursday, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa hold their group’s 14th annual meeting. Virtually addressing a business forum a day earlier, Putin denounced the international sanctions imposed on his country, calling them “politically motivated”.

In his keynote speech on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed that sentiment, attacking the use of sanctions.

“To politicize the global economy as your tool or weapon, and to deliberately impose sanctions using your prominent position in the international financial and monetary systems will only harm your own interests as well as those of others, and inflict suffering on everyone,” Xi said, according to an English-language state media transcript. He did not name the United States in his remarks.

Putin also claimed that the BRICS economies are planning to create an international reserve currency using their own basket of currencies.

“The Russian financial messaging system is open for connection with banks from BRICS countries. The Russian payment system MIR is expanding its presence. We are exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the BRICS currency basket,” said he declared. , according to an official English transcript from the Kremlin.

Putin’s remarks come after Russia was cut off from the SWIFT interbank messaging system as part of the sanctions.

China put a lot more energy into the Brics summit. China is isolating itself internationally following Ukraine, and it is looking for counterweight blocs.

James Crabtree

Executive Director, IISS-Asia

Putin noted that the total international reserves of the BRICS countries this year amounted to about 35% of world reserves. He also said that trade between the Russian Federation and BRICS countries increased by 38% to $45 billion in the first three months of 2022.

The Russian president also said that there are also plans to coordinate to “develop transport infrastructure, rebuild logistics routes and create new production chains”. Putin said talks were underway about opening Indian chain stores in Russia and increasing the share of Chinese cars and other vehicles in the Russian market.

“Russia’s presence in BRICS countries is growing. There has been a noticeable increase in Russian oil exports to China and India. Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically,” Putin said.

China’s role

Still, James Crabtree of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said China was the driving force behind this year’s BRICS meeting. China is eyeing the BRICS to gain influence in the international arena, said Crabtree, executive director of IISS-Asia.

“China has put a lot more energy into the BRICS summit. China is isolating itself internationally as a result of Ukraine, and it is looking for counterweight blocs,” he told “Street Signs Asia from CNBC.

China and Russia signed a “limitless” partnership a few weeks before the war in Ukraine. Beijing has not denounced Moscow’s aggression despite widespread condemnation from the West. In fact, none of the BRICS nations have spoken out against the Russian invasion, issuing only vaguely worded calls for peace through negotiations.

But the block’s effectiveness is undermined by the fact that it’s not completely united, Crabtree pointed out.

“One of the problems with the BRICS is that they are internally divided. China and Russia are okay with it, but you also have India and Brazil, who both tend to be quite skeptical about it. towards China,” he said, adding that this limits what the group can do.

China would also like to expand the group to include countries like Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Crabtree said.