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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for a strengthening of ties with the influential club of BRICS emerging economies, amid unprecedented Western sanctions imposed over Ukraine.

“Businessmen of our countries are forced to develop their business under difficult conditions where Western partners neglect the basic principles of market economy, free trade, as well as the inviolability of private property,” Putin told a BRICS business forum via video link.

On the eve of a BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa) virtual summit, the Russian leader denounced “the permanent implementation of new politically motivated sanctions” that contradict “common sense and basic economic logic”.

He said Russia is “actively redirecting its trade flows and external economic contacts towards reliable international partners, above all the BRICS countries”.

The barrage of Western sanctions against Moscow has pushed Putin to seek new markets and strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia.

Putin said that discussions were ongoing on the “opening of Indian chain stores in Russia, increasing the share of Chinese automobiles” on the Russian market.

“Russian oil deliveries to China and India are increasing. Agricultural cooperation is developing dynamically,” as is the export of Russian fertiliser to BRICS countries, he said.

Russia is also developing “alternative international transfer mechanisms” with BRICS partners and an “international reserve currency” to reduce dependence on the dollar and euro, Putin added.

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