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Russian government pledges £10 billion to support banks

Russia's government will provide 1 trillion roubles (£10.3 billion) in support to "systematically important" banks in the latest attempt to prop up the country's flagging economy.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters: "First of all, we will support systemically important banks, so that economic transactions will be provided for. They are the main holders of deposits, the main transactions are carried out in those (banks)."

He added that Russia' central bank would determine which banks were "systematically important".

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Putin mistakenly jokes about stroke victim being drunk

Vladimir Putin had an embarrassing moment this morning when he inadvertently joked about a stroke victim being drunk.

Journalist Vladimir Mamatov asking President Putin a question.

The incident took place during the Russian president's press conference today when journalist Vladimir Mamtov stood up to ask him about a popular Russian alcoholic drink called Kvas.

Mr Putin interrupted him to say "you've already had yours", implying that Mr Mamatov was drunk.

However Russia Today later tweeted that the journalist had in fact suffered a number of strokes, which explained his halting speech.

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Putin predicts rouble recovery and blames 'external factors'

Vladimir Putin making his annual address. Credit: APTN

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the country's uncertain economic situation has been provoked by "external factors", and believes it may take two years for the country to return to growth.

Speaking at a televised question and answer session in Moscow, he said he believes the country's currency, the rouble - which has recently been in freefall - will inevitably recover.

He also said he was confident Russia had sufficient currency reserves to deal with the uncertainty and said the central bank and government were taking adequate measures.

Putin added the Central Bank's current interest rate of 17% will not last throughout the currency's crisis.

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Russians panic-buy as the rouble plummets

Shops in Moscow were literally stripped bare as Russians try to offload their roubles before they become next to worthless.

The collapse of the currency could also have serious implications for Vladimir Putin's political position, according to one of the country's opposition leaders.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports from Moscow.

Russia's attempt to stop rouble's freefall unsuccessful

Russia's attempt to stop traders selling the rouble by raising its key interest rate by 6.5%, in a bid to stave off inflation and protect the national currency, was unsuccessful today.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reported from Moscow where ordinary Russians reportedly did not blame the Kremlin for the rouble's freefall but named the main cause of the currency falling as "oil, sanctions and the wrong policies of the central bank".

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