Russian Stocks Down as Banks Suffer Amid Sanctions
MOSCOW - Russia is feeling the bite of western sanctions imposed in the wake of its annexation of Crimea.
The European Union joined the U.S. today in imposing a new round of sanctions aimed at punishing Russia. The sanctions are also being felt on the streets as Visa and MasterCard have stopped serving two Russian banks
President Vladimir Putin has ordered the country's central bank to help clients of Rossiya. U.S. officials described the lender as a personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation. Putin denies he has an account there but says he's now opening one and will have his salary transferred there.
Russia's finance minister says Moscow may have to scrap plans to tap international markets for $7 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Fitch has joined Standard & Poor's in warning that Russia's credit rating may be downgraded. The current BBB rating is just two notches above what is considered to be junk status.
Russian stocks are faltering with the country's benchmark index down 2 percent. The Russian stock market has lost than more 10 percent this month.