Russia made what appeared to be a late U-turn to avoid a default on Friday, as it made a number of overdue interest payments in dollars on its overseas bonds, despite previously vowing to pay only in rubles as long as its reserves remained frozen.

Russia’s $40 billion of international bonds have become the focus of a game of financial chicken amid sweeping Western sanctions — and speculation about a default is likely to revive in less than four weeks, when a U.S. license allowing Moscow to make payments is due to expire.

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