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Sacramento Bee | December 16, 2014 | by The Editorial Board
And in an added bonus, plummeting oil prices are putting a big hurt on Vladimir Putin – and could curb his aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere. Oil was trading for $100-plus a barrel when Russia first sent soldiers into Ukraine in March. Tuesday, a global benchmark crude traded at under $60 a barrel for the first time in five years. Russia’s economy relies heavily on oil revenue and is already hurting under sanctions from the United States and Europe. The ruble lost 10 percent of its value against the dollar just on Monday. Tuesday, the Bank of Russia raised interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent – a desperate, but apparently futile, move to try to stop the run on the ruble.
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