(Bloomberg) -- Russia has asked Bangladesh to open a direct payment channel between their central banks to facilitate fund transfers hampered by sanctions against Moscow because of its war in Ukraine.

Russia is pushing for an alternative payment system after the South Asian nation failed to transfer a repayment for an initial $500 million loan for preparatory work on a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant, two people with knowledge of the matter said, seeking anonymity because the talks were private. The $12.65 billion power plant in the central district of Pabna, 140 kilometers west of capital Dhaka, will be mostly funded by the Russian loan.

“The existing Russian-Bangladeshi interbank infrastructure is not sufficiently robust to service all mutual foreign trade settlements without the involvement of intermediary banks from third countries,” states the letter to Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder by Bank of Russia, seen by Bloomberg News. 

Russia also proposed that Dhaka consider a currency swap agreement, a currency clearing scheme, the use of ruble in trade settlements and enabling Bank of Russia’s messaging system to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, the letter added. 

The Bangladesh-Russia banking mechanism was discussed in a multi-day video conference between the two sides this week, Mezbaul Haque, executive director of Bangladesh Bank, said in a phone interview. However, no conclusion has been reached, Haque added, declining to elaborate further.

Haque also declined to comment on the letter sent by the Russian central bank.

The Bank of Russia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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