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Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union are pushing Russia toward a recession as the intensity of their economic penalties increases after the annexation of Crimea earlier this month.Banks including state-run VTB Capital say the world's ninth-biggest economy will shrink for at least two quarters as the penalties rattle markets, curb investment and increase the cost of borrowing. The sanctions, which have so far focused on individuals via visa bans and asset freezes, may be expanded to target specific areas of the economy. President Vladimir Putin sent his popularity surging to a five-year high by making Crimea a part of Russia again after 60 years and says he won't be swayed by foreign retaliation. Russia imposed retaliatory sanctions on 13 Canadians Monday, banning them from entering the country.The EU, which relies on Russia for a third of its energy imports, has struggled to find ways of punishing Putin because sanctions risk damaging Europe's economy.
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