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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.

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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Russian bank official: This is a 'nightmare' situation

One of the deputy governors of Russia's central bank has described the country's currency crisis as a "nightmare" scenario.

Sergei Shvetsov also admitted that the decision to sharply hike interest rates was a choice between the "very bad" and the "very, very bad".

The Interfax agency quoted Mr Shvetsov saying:

The situation is critical. What is happening now we could not have imagined in a nightmare a year ago. But unfortunately we cannot predict the short term perspectives of our financial markets. Many players are in a difficult position thanks to these events.

Believe me, the choice that the Central Bank council made yesterday was a choice between the very bad and the very, very bad. What is happening today and in recent days will have various consequences.

– Sergei Shvetsov, Deputy Governor of Russia's Central Bank

Russian PM chairs meeting on financial crisis

Russia's Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev. Credit: Reuters

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting on Tuesday with top central bank and government officials on the country's financial and economic situation, according to a press release published on the government's website.

'Emotions' behind rouble fall, says Kremlin spokesman

A sharp fall in value means 500 roubles is now worth around £6.50. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The fall in the rouble is driven largely by emotions and a speculative mood, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed.

The RIA news agency quoted Dmitry Peskov saying: "It is true that there is turbulence on the market, which can be largely explained by emotions and a speculative mood."

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