- Title: NATO-MEETING/KERRY Kerry says sanctions hit Russia's economy
- Date: 2nd December 2014
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (DECEMBER 2, 2014) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CARS DRIVING OUTSIDE NATO HEADQUARTERS EXTERIOR OF NATO HEADQUARTERS U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY ENTERING NEWS CONFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHER KERRY SPEAKING
- Embargoed: 17th December 2014 12:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVADD8EQ1NP83A2V3U6D043VT6QE
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Western sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, which is now projected to slide into recession next year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday (December 2) after talks with NATO allies.
Kerry told a news conference Russia could avoid further sanctions by agreeing to specific steps to end its support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Citing the weakening of the Russian currency, the rouble, and comments by a senior Russian official that the economy will fall into recession in 2015, Kerry said: "Clearly the economy is feeling the impact of these sanctions."
Hit by low oil prices and sanctions, Russian Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Vedev said gross domestic product would likely fall by 0.8 percent next year, a dramatic change from a previous forecast of 1.2 percent GDP growth.
This would be Russia's first recession since 2009, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis when the Russian economy contracted 7.9 percent that year.
"Russia has the opportunity to make a very different choice," said Kerry. "We are prepared, as others are prepared, to sit down to negotiate, work through reasonable ways in which all the parties could agree to very specific steps that could be taken in order to move in a different direction that is available."
A senior State Department official, accompanying Kerry to the NATO meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, said he would talk to European allies about imposing further sanctions on Russia if pro-Moscow separatists do not halt violence in Ukraine.
The United States and the 28-nation European Union have both imposed sanctions on Russia's financial, defence and energy sectors over Moscow's annexation of Crimea and its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Still, EU diplomats say there is little appetite among EU states for more sanctions unless there is a further sharp deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. Russia is Europe's leading energy supplier and many EU countries fear the sanctions and Russian reprisals could hurt their own economies.
On Tuesday, Ukraine's military and separatist forces agreed "in principle" on a new ceasefire from Dec. 5 in the rebel-held Luhansk region, the OSCE security group said.
The original ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, agreed in Minsk on Sept. 5, has been regularly violated.
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