Russia inflation hits 20-year high in April

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MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's annual inflation jumped to a two-decade high of 17.8 per cent in April, fuelled by Western sanctions over Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine, the statistics agency said on Friday (May 13).

Since President Vladimir Putin moved troops into Ukraine on Feb 24, Russia has been hit with a barrage of international sanctions, including embargoes on key exports, accelerating already high inflation.

Inflation of food prices, a huge concern for Russians on low incomes, has reached 20.5 per cent year-on-year, according to Rosstat.

Pasta has gone up by 29.6 per cent, butter by 26.1 per cent, and fruit and vegetables by 33 per cent.

Annual inflation could reach 23 per cent this year before slowing down next year and returning to the target of 4 per cent in 2024, according to the Central Bank.

"Looking ahead, we expect monthly increases in prices to ease further from May," Capital Economics said.

Inflation has been speeding up for months due to a number of factors including the post-pandemic recovery and high prices for raw materials. Putin's decision to send troops to Ukraine has added sanctions and the resulting logistical difficulties as factors.

Putin on Thursday said Western countries were worse hit by sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine than Russia, which he insists has been resilient in the face of "external challenges".

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