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    Russia repaid debt to U.S. for political reasons - ministry-1

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    The early repayment of Russia's $343.25 million agricultural debt to the U.S. last week was dictated by political motives, a deputy Russian finance minister said on Monday.

    (Changes headline, adds paras 3-4)

    WASHINGTON, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - The early repayment of Russia's $343.25 million agricultural debt to the U.S. last week was dictated by political motives, a deputy Russian finance minister said on Monday.

    "In making the decision to repay the agricultural debt to the U.S. ahead of schedule, we were proceeding from political expediency," Sergei Storchak told journalists, adding that the financial profit was minimal.

    The $600 million loan was issued until 2020 for the purchase of U.S. agricultural supplies, cancelled in 2000. The debt was validated five years later and Russia has since paid in two tranches every October and December.

    On October 19, Russia repaid the remaining $343.25 million of its agriculture debt to the U.S. ahead of schedule, saving $46.7 million in interest.

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