Some Moscow residents brace for rough ride as sanctions bite
MOSCOW, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Some Moscow residents said they were yet to feel the effects of sweeping Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, while others were bracing for a grim economic downturn ahead.
The Russian rouble plunged 18% against the U.S. dollar on Monday and the central bank more than doubled its key rate to 20% in an emergency move after the West imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow over the weekend.
"The economic situation here will get a lot worse. This is inevitable in the circumstances," said Anastasiya. "But it's still incomparable with the losses of people in Ukraine who are dying in their homes through the fault of our forces."
"We're in touch with our Ukrainian friends and I have no words that could comfort them," she added, declining to give her surname.
There are no polling data yet on the public's view of Moscow's invasion.
President Vladimir Putin has described it as a special military operation, saying "neo-Nazis" rule Ukraine and threaten Russia's security.
Ukraine and Western governments reject that as baseless propaganda, but the Kremlin line is faithfully reflected by state media, from which most Russians get their news.
The sanctions are widely expected to hit the economy hard and inflict pain on ordinary Russians, compounding years of stagnant or falling real wages and driving up inflation.
It is still unclear whether that will undermine support for Putin or whether he can get Russians to rally around the flag in the face of what he has portrayed as aggressive behaviour by the West.
"Cars have got a lot more expensive ... Prices are rising of course, savings are shrinking and stocks are falling," said Anton, another Moscow resident.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.