Russian Ruble plummets & shares fall as West mulls further sanctions after Navalny poisoning

Russia’s ailing economy has come under increased pressure Thursday as calls for new Western sanctions followed Germany’s revelation that opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Berlin’s announcement on Wednesday sent the ruble plunging to its lowest level since the height of Russia's coronavirus epidemic in the spring, and on Thursday morning it was trading at 89 rubles to the euro and 75.4 rubles to the dollar.

At one point Wednesday it fell to 89.8 rubles to the euro, its lowest level since 2016, and 100.3 to the UK pound.

The ruble already lost 20% of its value against the major currencies since the start of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic and oil price fall.

Moscow’s RTS stock exchange also fell by more than 3% after the German announcement.

Further sanctions could lead to increased prices and shortages for Russian consumers, whose living standards have fallen since the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea.

The highly controversial NORD-STREAM 2 pipeline could also be put in jeopardy: largely reliant on German support for completion of the project, the country's biggest newspaper Bild on Thursday called for the project to be ended, saying that “if the government does not stop the construction of Nord Stream 2, we will soon be financing Putin’s Novichok attacks.”

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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