RIA Novosti: Capital Outflow from Russia Due to Ruble Rate, Not Crimea

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

BERLIN, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – The outflow of capital from Russia is not tied to events in Ukraine, but to fluctuations in the exchange rate of the ruble, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday.

“The outflow of capital is not mainly tied to Crimea, the outflow, of course, is connected with the events that happened in Ukraine, but the main reason is the change in the exchange rate of the ruble in regard to the main reserve currencies, the dollar and euro,” Shuvalov said at the international “east forum Berlin” conference.

Mass exchange transactions from rubles to dollars and euros were brought on by the sharp fall of the Russian currency against the backdrop of an overall investment outflow from developing markets, Shuvalov said, adding there is an ongoing reversal of the trend.

“In regard to the changes in the exchange rate [of the ruble], we are not observing them now, since the end of March, and the situation in Ukraine is not worsening, we have observed that just the opposite is happening on accounts, and the currency positions of legal entities and citizens have begun transferring into rubles,” Shuvalov said.

One of Russia’s most urgent Ukraine-specific economic concerns is the export of natural gas. The deputy prime minister said he did not discuss Kiev’s arrears on gas payments with Ukrainian Economic Minister Pavlo Sheremeta, who also attended the forum.

“We had a short meeting on the sidelines during the meeting we were at. We discussed the possibility of two free trade zones: one CIS trade zone and the possible free trade zone that Ukraine is trying to create with the EU,” Shuvalov said.

He also denounced dragging Ukraine into a choice between the EU and Russia, saying “it’s a crime to yank it in different directions.”