Russia Downgraded to Junk Status by Standard and Poor's, Blames US Scott Olson/Getty Images

Russia Downgraded to Junk Status by Standard and Poor's, Blames US

Standard and Poor's became the first major international ratings agency to move Russia down into speculative or "junk" territory.

MOSCOW – Russia on Tuesday condemned a decision by Standard and Poor's to strip sanctions-hit Russia of its investment-grade rating, saying the downgrade to "junk" status had been ordered by the United States.

"I personally have no doubt that this was done not even on the prompting but on direct orders from Washington," Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya was quoted by the state RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

"Russia faces coordinated actions to undermine its economy. These actions are a covert part of the sanctions war which has been declared against us pretty much officially.

"Serious companies will hardly be guided by such ratings which do not reflect a real state of affairs." - Dmitry Peskov, RIA Novosti

"The fact that this step has been taken now is not surprising: by strange coincidence it came during a fresh spike in anti-Russian hysteria," Nebenzya added.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman also said the rating downgrade was politically motivated.

"Serious companies will hardly be guided by such ratings which do not reflect a real state of affairs," Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Standard and Poor's became the first major international ratings agency to move Russia down into speculative or "junk" territory, the first such downgrade for the country in a decade.

The cut piles further pressure on Russia's beleaguered economy which is already reeling from low oil prices and several rounds of Western sanctions.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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