(I apologize beforehand for this extremely clueless question! I have searched for the answer for a long time without success.)
Credit rating agencies have recently declared Russia to be close to default, for having paid "about $650 million of dollar-denominated debt in rubles on April 4."
If Russia does not pay this debt in dollars by May 4 (the end of the 30-day grace period), it will be officially in default.
I have read in multiple articles that this would be a catastrophic event for Russia1.
If so, I do not understand why Russia wouldn't buy the necessary dollars with its rubles.
Yes, I understand that such a move would tend to depress the value of the ruble, but would that be worse than being declared in default?
1 To underscore what a big deal it would be for Russia to default, all these articles point out that Russia has not defaulted on its foreign debt since the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.