MOSCOW - The Kremlin insisted Monday there were "no grounds" to say that Russia had defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt as the West pummels Russia with sanctions over its Ukraine offensive.
"There are no grounds to call this situation a default," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters after a key payment deadline expired Sunday.
"These claims about default, they are absolutely wrong," he said, adding that Russia settled the debt in May.
Bloomberg News reported earlier Monday that Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in more than a century, after the grace period on some $100 million of interest payments due Sunday had expired.
The Russian authorities have accused the West of seeking to drive Moscow into an artificial default, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has dismissed the situation as a "farce".
Punishing Western sanctions on Russia have largely severed the country from the international financial system, making it difficult for Moscow to service its debt.
The country last defaulted on its foreign currency debt in 1918, when Bolshevik revolution leader Vladimir Lenin refused to recognize the obligations of the deposed tsar's regime.
It defaulted on ruble-denominated debt in 1998 amid a broader financial crisis.