oil prices
Free fall in oil prices hurting Russian economy.Reuters

Russia is losing several billions of dollars per year due to Western sanctions and the drop in oil prices, the country's finance minister, Anton Siluanov, has said.

While Western sanctions are costing the economy about $40bn (€32.3bn, £25.6bn) per year, the recent decline in oil prices is causing losses between $90-100bn, Reuters reported, citing Siluanov.

Earlier, Alexei Simanovsky, the Russian central bank's first deputy chairman, said at a press conference that the country's banks would suffer a 10% decline in profits for 2014 compared to the previous year, as Western sanctions are expected to limit the banks' operations.

Western sanctions in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis have particularly hit the Russian banking sector, and large banks such as Sberbank and VTB are suffering from a closure to external markets.

Russia's central bank earlier forecast zero economic growth for 2015 and only a 0.1% growth for 2016, in a three-year monetary policy plan that underscored the damaging impact of Western financial sanctions on the domestic economy.

Being one of the biggest producers of oil, Russia has been severely hit by the continuous fall in oil prices.

Falling oil prices and geopolitical tensions have put intense pressure on Russia's currency, amid fears that its economy is heading for a recession. Prices have dropped over 25% since June, slashing the revenues Moscow received from energy exports.

Russia's economic outlook worsened since Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea provoked a wave of economic sanctions from Western powers including the US and the European Union.