OREANDA-NEWS Due to the sharp increase in cross—border payments between Russia and China, Russian banks should be directly connected to the Chinese equivalent of SWIFT - the CIPS (Cross-border Interbank Payment System), VTB Head Andrey Kostin urged. His words at the Russian-Chinese Business Forum are reported by TASS.

Kostin notes that over the last quarter, the number of cross-border transfers increased by more than 200 percent only for VTB Bank. In this regard, there is an "urgent need" to transfer credit institutions to an alternative payment method.

"I would like to emphasize that the beneficiaries of such a connection will be not only large companies, but also small and medium—sized businesses from Russia and China, whose importance in bilateral trade is increasing," he said.

Almost all systemically important banks in Russia are currently disconnected from SWIFT, and their accounts abroad are forcibly closed. Large-scale sanctions against the Russian financial system were introduced in March 2022 against the background of the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. The import of cash dollars and euros to Russia was also banned, which significantly complicated the conduct of foreign exchange transactions.

In November 2022, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the central banks of Russia and China are developing a system of mutual settlements to avoid using SWIFT. He stressed that the transition to settlements in national currencies is especially important in trade relations between the two countries.