Russia President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned rouble speculators would be punishedReuters

As Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual televised address to the nation, interbank lending rates reached their highest level for nine years.

The three-month rate rose to 28.3%, a level it has not reached since 2005, amid a crash in the ruble and fears over Russia's long-term economic stability.

The central bank increased the rate with a view to curbing the 9.1% inflation which has set in and it comes in addition to the 6.5% hike in interest rates which was introduced earlier in the week, bringing them to 17%.

The move came as Putin spoke bullishly on the Russian economy, vowing to return it to growth within two years. He blamed the crisis on "external factors", suggesting that the US and Saudi Arabia had conspired to keep oil prices low, with a view to damaging the economies of Russia and Iran.

He also said that the western sanctions regime on Russia were "absolutely illegal" in the eyes of World Trade Organisation rules.

The ruble has settled at around 61 to the dollar since Putin's three-hour address, with questions and answers completed.

One of the key takeaways is that there is not expected to be drastic policy changes unless there's another big slide in the ruble, with Putin saying that Russia should not waste its foreign reserves.