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Lavrov calls for 'de-escalation of rhetoric' over Ukraine

Russian troops near the Ukrainian border will return to its permanent bases after completing its military exercises, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, calling for a "de-escalation" of rhetoric.

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World Bank: Russia's GDP could contract by 1.8%

The Russian economy could contract by 1.8% in gross domestic product (GDP) terms this year if the crisis following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea deepens, the World Bank has said.

"We assume that political risks will be prominent in the short-term," the bank said in a report on the Russian economy. "If the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates, uncertainty could rise around sanctions from the West and Russia's response to them."

However the the Bank said, its high-risk forecast of a 1.8% contraction assumes that the international community would still refrain from trade sanctions.

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