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Russian Finance Minister Says Reserve Funds Running Out

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says the country's Reserve Fund could be exhausted by the end of 2016 if world energy prices remain at current levels.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow on October 27, Siluanov said the budget shortfall for 2015 is expected to be 2.6 trillion rubles ($41 billion). He predicted the budget shortfall for 2016 at 900 billion rubles if oil prices remain around $45 per barrel and a ruble exchange rate of 62 rubles to the dollar.

"This means that 2016 is the last year when we are able to spend our reserves in this way," he added. "After that, we will not have such resources."

Siluanov said that as a result of the dwindling reserves, "the matter of consolidating the budget must be the No. 1 task on our agenda."

The Russian economy has been hit hard by sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and other countries because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In addition, Moscow has spent billions on projects such as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the reconstruction of Crimea, and its military campaign in Syria.

Based on reporting by Dozhd TV and TASS

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