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RUSSIA ISSUES NEW RUBLES TO AID BANKS

Russia has issued $60 million in new rubles in a bid to prevent the collapse of commercial banks, the Central Bank said Monday, playing down concerns the move would fuel inflation.

The announcement came while President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov met to complete Cabinet selections and work on a strategy to jump-start the moribund economy.

The financial crisis has caused a backlog of bank payments totaling more than $2 billion, Andrei Kozlov, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, told a news conference Monday.

The bank launched an emergency rescue plan on Friday to help settle $666 million of the payments, Kozlov said.

As part of the effort, the Central Bank printed $60 million in rubles and issued short-term credits to banks. Kozlov stressed that the amount was too small to affect the ruble's rate and inflation.

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