Putin says the Russian economy has passed the 'peak' of its problems

Vladimir PutinREUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/KremlinRussian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the worst was over for Russia’s crisis-hit economy, pointing to the recent rebound of the ruble despite Western sanctions over Ukraine.

“The ruble has stabilised and strengthened,” Putin said during his annual phone-in with Russians. “Experts believe that we have passed the peak of the problems.”

Putin also insisted that western sanctions would not affect Russia the way they have affected Iran.

“Sanctions make an impact, contribute to our troubles, but [are] not the main thing,” Putin said, according to NBC News. “Russia is not Iran. Our country is bigger, our economy is bigger and more diversified, we have a different energy policy.”

Putin said he didn’t expect the sanctions to be lifted anytime soon, but that the Russian economy could withstand it.

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