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These overall reserves, which totalled $643.2 billion on 18 February, were built up over years on the back of oil and gas revenues and seen as a key buffer for the Kremlin to weather any international isolation.

Moscow has so far found other solutions to prop up its currency and pay its international debts.

Faced with the collapse of the ruble in the first weeks of the conflict, the authorities asked major exporting companies to convert a large part of their foreign currency into rubles to help bolster it.

But Moscow could find itself in deeper trouble if the decline in its foreign currency stash continues, with some in the West mooting handing over the frozen funds to Kyiv.

But Moscow could find itself in deeper trouble if the decline in its foreign currency stash continues, with some in the West mooting handing over the frozen funds to Kyiv.

EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell told the Financial Times on Monday that he was in favour of seizing and using the Russian billions blocked abroad to rebuild Ukraine.

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