News from Ukraine: Vladimir Putin’s invasion plans under threat from ‘weak’ ruble | world | Messages

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the media he had been assured by the Russian president that troops would not advance into Ukraine any time soon. Mr Macron said: “I have pledged that there will be no deterioration or escalation.” Russia currently has over 100,000 amassed on the Ukrainian border, although it denies any intention of invading.

But former chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Professor Sergei Guriev, told Express.co.uk that Western sanctions are taking a serious toll on the Russian economy.

He added: “An obvious indicator is the weak ruble – while Russian oil is trading at $95 a barrel, the ruble is trading at 75 rubles/dollar.”

He made a comparison with the level before Crimea, when the rate was 33 rubles per dollar and the price of oil was only slightly higher.

Russia was sanctioned back in 2014 after annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula to global condemnation.

Professor Guriev warned that if Russia invaded Ukraine, it would be able to avoid an economic “collapse,” but Russians are likely to be deeply “unhappy” with the consequences of such an invasion.

He said: “If Russia invades Ukraine and major financial sanctions are imposed, Russia will still be able to avoid a macroeconomic collapse – having a balanced budget, huge foreign exchange reserves, low debt and a large sovereign wealth fund.”

“It is highly unlikely that the West will implement an oil/gas embargo.

“Without such an embargo [the] The Russian economy will continue to stagnate.

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“When Russia annexed Crimea, it didn’t expect resistance (like in 2008).

“When the US introduced sanctions against Mr Putin’s personal friends in March 2014, the dynamic changed – and after Donetsk and Luhansk had their referendums in May 2014, Russia did not follow the Crimean scenario.

“To this day, Russia recognizes that Donetsk and Luhansk are part of Ukraine.

“The more painful ‘sectoral’ sanctions were introduced in August-Sep 2014 (after [the]Flight MH17 shot down).

“That brought Russia to the negotiating table – so Minsk agreements were concluded.

“Furthermore, Russia stopped talking about ‘Novorossia’ (in spring 2014 speeches, Putin hinted that Russia wants to claim 6 regions in south-eastern Ukraine, not just 2).”

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