Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says an economic meltdown will not hit a country like Russia, added he is more concerned about the Ukrainian economy. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A deep chill over the Russian economy as the rouble continues to plunge. Russia has been hit by the prospect of a new round of sanctions and weak oil prices. In an interview with France 24, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia can stand the heat. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING: "Well, of course it hurts. We don't take any pleasure from sanctions. But it's not our problem." While the top economic adviser at the White House spoke of a Russian economy on the brink -- Lavrov says not so. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING: "But I can assure you that Russia would not only survive, but would come out stronger out of this. He also says it is not Russia that needs to fear for its future -- but Ukraine. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SERGEI LAVROV, SAYING: "Never. Economic meltdown could happen to a small country. It can happen even to a big country like Ukraine, and it's basically almost there." The U.S. and Europe imposed sanctions after Russia's annexation of Crimea, and Kremlin backing for pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The conflict has become the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War. And there may be more to come. The White House says President Barack Obama will authorize a new round of sanctions by the end of the week -- although Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that if Russia makes constructive moves toward reducing tensions in Ukraine -- some of those sanctions could be eased.