WASHINGTON - Defaults on U.S.-backed agricultural credits to Russia have risen to $68.3 million, the Department of Agriculture said this week.

Department spokesman Roger Runningen said it received notices from three banks on Monday that Russia had missed $10.2 million in payments.

The country was already in arrears on $58.1 million to six U.S. and international lenders.

No Payments by Government

None of the six banks holding the overdue loans has asked the Agriculture Department to cover the late payments, which were on loans for purchases of U.S. grain and other farm products.

Russia has been missing scheduled loan payments regularly since early December. As a result, it has been suspended from the federal export-credit program.

The agriculture agency has authorized $5.75 billion in credit guarantees to Russia and Ukraine since January 1991.

Russia, responsible for most of the debt so far, has repaid $887 million.

Credits totaling $386 million are currently outstanding to Russia, but the country cannot tap its line of credit as long as its payments are late.

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