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International sanctions are taking a major toll on Russia's economy

The U.S. and its allies have leveled harsh economic sanctions in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Russia's economy is feeling the heavy weight of international sanctions after it invaded Ukraine and the pain isn't going away anytime soon. 

The Russian economy has taken a big hit from those sanctions after the attack on Ukraine, but why? 

Let's connect the dots. 

The United States and its allies have leveled harsh economic sanctions in response to Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The West has cut off the Central Bank of Russia, cut Russian access to the U.S. dollar and barred Russian banks from access to "SWIFT," a worldwide system for banks to conduct transactions. Leading Russian bank Sberbank announced Wednesday that it is pulling out of European markets amid the tightening Western sanctions. 

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Western allies have also frozen Russia's access to $600 billion in foreign reserves, which was supposed to be its buffer to sanctions. During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the sanctions have left Russian President Vladimir Putin "isolated in the world more than he has ever been."

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And this is having a devastating effect on the Russian economy. The value of the ruble plunged and interest rates are soaring. Long lines formed at Russian ATMs as people there start to try to get as much cash out as they still can, and the pain won't end soon.

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Russia doesn't have a lot of options or willing allies to help loosen the stranglehold on its economy. While China and Russia have developed close economic ties, some Chinese banks are already pushing back on processing certain transactions. 

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