Posted on Sep 04, 2020
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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