Russia's prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, says he wants to make the country's new payments system compatible with China's UnionPay as a way to guard against Western sanctions.
Earlier this year Russia launched its Mir national payments card at the behest of President Vladimir Putin in response to US and EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea, which saw MasterCard and Visa cut off services to several of the country's banks.
In an interview with China Central Television, quoted by Reuters, Medvedev says: "We are currently considering ways of harmonizing our national payments system; both the card that we are going to issue, the Mir card, on the one hand, and the UnionPay system, on the other hand. We believe that this would enhance the reliability of financial settlements."
Medvedev says that the compatibility would reduce Russia's reliance on Western-dominated payment systems such as Swift.
"In this respect, this kind of cooperation is very useful because in this situation no one will be able to block the development of financial traffic. I believe that the use of the yuan in mutual settlements, the use of positions opened in yuan and rubles, mutual financial transaction technologies, and the use of co-branding cards - all of this is very useful for our countries."