Russia and five other ex-Soviet states have agreed to reduce their dependence on the dollar and promote payments in national currencies.

At a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Wednesday Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan signed an agreement to set up an integrated currency market for CIS members states.

The agreement is designed to cut the use of the dollar and euro and facilitate transactions in national currencies in foreign trade and financial services. It will above all promote the use of the Rouble as a reserve currency given the dominant position of the Russian economy in the former Soviet Union.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the accord as another step towards building closer economic ties among former Soviet states.

“This move will help create conditions for deepening our integration efforts. I am talking about the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space, in the first place,” Mr Putin said. “We would welcome all states that wish to join these integration projects.”

Two years ago Russia, Belarus and Kazakhastan established a customs union and last year proclaimed the goal of creating a Eurasian Union, a close economic and political alliance that would embrace more erstwhile Soviet states.

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