World Bank is warning of risks for Russia’s economy pressured by fear of profound sanctions

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MOSCOW – The World Bank is warning that Russia’s economy could contract this year if the country is hit with more serious sanctions following its annexation of Crimea.

The organization said Wednesday it expects the Russian economy to grow 1.1 per cent this year if the fall-out from the Crimean crisis is short-lived but warned of a 1.8 per cent fall if Russia is hit with more serious sanctions than those already specified.

So far, the sanctions have been fairly limited and haven’t touched on Russia’s vital economic interests. The United States and the European Union have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on two dozen Russians who are believed to be close to Putin.

Russia grew 1.3 per cent last year — its lowest growth in the past 13 years barring the downturn-hit 2009.

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