Russia’s Deputy Minister of Finances Sergei Storchak has invited Greece to join the under-development new growth bank that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the so-called “BRICS”) are developing.

Mr. Storchak, who spoke to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency, argued that the goal of the BRICS-sponsored growth bank will be to secure their credit autonomy and to compete with the IMF and World Bank. The bank currently has 50 billion dollars in capital, with a further 100 billion-euro foreign exchange reserve.

According to the Russian official, by joining the venture, Greece will be able to fund a series of development projects. Mr. Storchak argued that the country’s ties with Russia could be strengthened if the ruble be used for payment of goods and services.

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has arranged to visit St. Petersburg in Russia between the 18th and 20th of June, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.