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Russian deputy PM: difficult to foresee scope of sanctions over Ukraine

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By Reuters

MOSCOW -Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said on Wednesday the full scope of Western sanctions on the Russian economy had been difficult to predict, a rare deviation from Moscow’s line that Russia was comfortably prepared to withstand any shocks.

Western countries have taken unprecedented measures to isolate Russia’s economy and financial system over its invasion of Ukraine, including sanctions on its central bank and the exclusion of some of its lenders from global payments system SWIFT.

“The full extent and depth of the current sanctions against the Russian economy were difficult to predict,” the Interfax news agency quoted Borisov as saying. “But we had been working on various mechanisms to support industries, including the defence sector, and conducting stress tests.”

He said Russia had been working to reduce import dependency since 2014, when sanctions were imposed against Moscow for its annexation of Crimea, and said a lot had been achieved, especially in areas related to defence and security.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said everything had been done to ensure that Russia’s financial system could cope with any economic or political shocks, but suggested she was displeased with the current turn of events.

“The Russian economy is faced with an extreme, completely non-standard situation, and of course we all wish it had not happened,” she told the bank’s staff in a video message.

“Let’s not get into political arguments at work, or at home on social networks. They only burn out the energy we need to do our jobs.”