Vladimir Putin has ordered a ban on foreign exchange loans and transfers by Russian residents to outside of the country, the Kremlin said on Monday, in retaliation for economic sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.
The Russian president also signed into law an order for exporting companies to sell 80 per cent of their foreign exchange earnings made since 1 January on the market.
It comes as Foreign secretary Liz Truss said Britain was set to lock Russia’s Sberbank out of sterling clearing and slap sanctions on three other banks. There will be a full asset freeze on Russian lenders within days, she added.
The UK government also advised citizens against all travel to Russia and ordered its ports to ban any vessels that are Russian as it increased pressure on Moscow.
The Russian rouble plunged sharply in early Monday trading and the central bank more than doubled its key rate to 20 per cent in an emergency move after the West imposed further economic sanctions over the weekend.
This included the Western decision to freeze Russia’s hard currency reserves in an unprecedented move that could have devastating consequences for the country’s financial stability.
Katya, a resident from Moscow, told The Independent: “My Russian bank card doesn’t work anymore. Also I wanted to exchange the rubles I had in cash but the exchange rate is so horrible that there’s no point. I can use them for toilet paper now.”