Sanctions hit Russian economy, although Putin says otherwise

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly two months into the Russian-Ukraine war, the Kremlin has taken extraordinary steps to blunt an economic counteroffensive from the West. While Russia can claim some symbolic victories, the full impact of Western sanctions is starting to be felt in very real ways.

As the West moved to cut off Russia’s access to its foreign reserves, limit imports of key technologies and take other restrictive actions, the Kremlin launched some drastic measures to protect the economy. Those included hiking interest rates to as high as 20%, instituting capital controls and forcing Russian business to convert their profits into rubles.

As a result, the value of the ruble has recovered after an initial plunge, and last week the central bank reversed part of its interest rate increase. Russian President Vladimir Putin felt emboldened and proclaimed — evoking World War II imagery — that the country had withstood the West’s “blitz” of…

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