(Agence France-Presse) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called for a single currency with the Kremlin’s closest ex-Soviet allies despite fraying ties in the region which is struggling with the fallout from Moscow’s economic crisis.

Putin urged closer integration for his flagship Eurasian Economic Union — which also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia — as Moscow scrambles to limit the damage from Western sanctions over Ukraine and tumbling oil prices.

“We think the time has come to discuss opportunities to form a potential currency union,” Putin said at a meeting with his Kazakh and Belarusian counterparts in Kazakhtan’s capital Astana.

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