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SIMFEROPOL, March 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Shoppers can pay in Russian rubles in the city of Simferopol, the Crimean capital, with more ease since the independence referendum brought renewed links with Russia. Ukrainian hryvnias still find their way back into pockets and purses as change, though, locals report.
CrimeaInform news agency says most city hotels have already switched to ruble payment. Russia's currency is also widely accepted in city restaurants and cafes, and prices are quoted in both denominations. Public markets, repair shops, taxis and tourist firms are also accepting the ruble.
Currency exchange rates have stabilized. In most establishments, Ukraine's hryvna equals 3.8 rubles. Some, though, accept 3.5 rubles while in rare cases elsewehere, four rubles is the rate.
Ruble-holders face a challenge on public transport, where the Russian denomination is still not accepted. And not all establishments mark goods in dual currency yet. Hryvnia lablels still dominate, though sales staff are swift with conversion calculations, locals say.
Credit card payments remain a problem to resolve. Automated devices await calibration anew.