Moody's cuts Russia's credit rating to 'junk' grade, cites Ukraine crisis, falling oil prices



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NEW YORK — Moody's Investors Service says it has cut Russia's credit rating to junk grade, citing the crisis in Ukraine and a slide in oil prices and the ruble.

The credit rating agency said late Friday that it expects those challenges will plunge Russia into a deep recession this year and continued contraction next year.

Moody's downgraded Russia's rating from Baa3 to Ba1, or one notch below investment grade.

Standard & Poor's downgraded Russia's rating to junk last month.

Russia's economy has been hit by the double impact of weaker energy prices as well as Western sanctions over its role in Ukraine.

The Russian economy is expected to contract by 4 to 5 percent this year for the first time since President Vladimir Putin took the helm in 2000.

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