Putin says to speed up process of switching Crimea to rouble

by Reuters
Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:28 GMT

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MOSCOW, April 17 (Reuters) - Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the country would speed up the process of switching Crimea's banking system to the rouble as Moscow looks to integrate the peninsula it annexed last month.

Crimea has officially introduced the rouble and started paying out pensions and state salaries in the currency since the region voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining Russia on March 16. Kiev and the West have denounced the annexation.

"The (situation) in the banking sector has not been completely resolved," Putin said in a televised call-in with the nation.

"We will try to talk with Ukrainian partners until we can find no solution. Turnover of the (Ukrainian) hryvnia is already restricted. The situation leaves no choice but to move to an accelerated circulation of the rouble."

Putin said it would take about a month to create a network and open up the needed number of accounts. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Andrey Kuzmin, Oksana Kobzeva and Polina Devitt; writing by Megan Davies; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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