Putin: World moving toward multi-polar system

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President Vladimir Putin has touted BRICS — a bloc comprising Russia, Iran, India, China, Brazil, and South Africa — and said the alliance, which is a geopolitical counterweight to Western power and influence, has a large potential for attracting new members.

The Russian leader was addressing the annual Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Putin said he welcomes all new members to the economic bloc, adding that he will do everything in his power to add fresh members to the group.

He said trade between Russia and Asia was soaring, adding that trade conducted in Western currencies such as the dollar and euro had dropped to half.

"Last year, the share of the so-called 'toxic' currencies of unfriendly nations in payments for Russian exports halved."

He said currently nearly 40 percent of Russia's foreign trade was in rubles, and Russia would seek to boost the share of settlements conducted in the currencies of BRICS countries.

"Overall, countries friendly to Russia, those are the ones we need to pay most attention to, the countries that are growing fast and will shape the future of the global economy, those countries account for more than three quarters of our trade turnover," he said.

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