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Russians Rush for Dollars as Sanctions Threaten Ruble Collapse

  • Sanctions on central bank, SWIFT prompt dash for dollars
  • Latest sanctions are harshest on a major economy in generation
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Ruble Plunges 30% as Sanctions Shock System

Russians lined up at cash machines around the country to withdraw foreign currency as new sanctions to punish the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine sparked fear the ruble could collapse. 

The rush for foreign currency came despite some lenders selling dollars at more than a third higher than the market’s close on Friday, and well past the psychologically important level of 100 rubles per dollar that many economists said would trigger an interest-rate hike by the Bank of Russia. The shock came as Russians were still digesting news that Europe was closing its airspace to them and popular payment systems like ApplePay would stop working.