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Putin’s spokesman: S&P’s downgrade of Russia’s rating outlook was directive

March 22, 2014, 4:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On March 20, Standard & Poor’s said it revised its outlook on the Russian Federation to negative from stable

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Dmitry Peskov

Dmitry Peskov

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Javakhadze

MOSCOW, March 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said the downgrade of Russia’s rating outlook by the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency was due to a directive rather than objective circumstances.

The downgrade decision “was clearly directive, not objective,” Peskov told journalists Friday, adding that such forecasts reduce the degree of credibility of such agencies.

On March 20, S&P said it revised its outlook on the Russian Federation to negative from stable. The organization also affirmed its 'BBB/A-2' foreign currency and 'BBB+/A-2' local currency long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on the country.

“The outlook revision reflects our view of the material and unanticipated economic and financial consequences that EU and US sanctions could have on Russia's creditworthiness following Russia's incorporation of Crimea, which the international community currently considers legally to be a part of Ukraine,” S&P said Thursday.

Fitch Ratings on Thursday revised the outlook on Russia's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to negative from stable and affirmed the IDRs at 'BBB'.

The Republic of Crimea, where most residents are Russians, held a referendum on March 16, in which it decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, and subsequently signed a treaty with Moscow on Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation on March 18. Russia’s upper house of parliament ratified it on Friday.

Putin and other officials have repeatedly stated that the Crimean referendum was in full conformity with the international law and the UN Charter, and also in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.

The developments came amid political turmoil in Ukraine, where violent anti-government protests resulted in a coup in February 2014. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns last month. Russia considers Yanukovich Ukraine’s legitimate leader and does not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities.

The West imposed sanctions on some Russian individuals and organizations due to Moscow’s actions regarding the situation in Ukraine and Crimea. Putin and other top officials were sarcastic about the restrictions. Russia has pledged to respond in kind, imposing tit-for-tat sanctions on Western officials.

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