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[MOSCOW] Inflation-weary Russians saw the price of fruit and vegetables increase by 22 per cent in January, the government said Wednesday, increasing pressure on households already reeling from an economic crisis.
Prices in the country have skyrocketed in recent months due to the plunging ruble and Moscow's ban on European Union and US food in retaliation for sanctions slapped on Russia over its backing of rebels in eastern Ukraine.
In January, the price of fruit and vegetables increased by 22.1 per cent from December, representing a spike of 40.7 per cent in yearly terms, said the ministry of economic development.
"This unprecedented price increase is a result of a decrease in imported products, which have nearly halved," said the report.
Basic vegetables consumed regularly in Russian households were among the worst-affected, with the price of cabbage soaring 27.9 per cent and carrots by 17.4 per cent.
The price of sugar jumped 19.1 per cent in January, and 68.1 per cent year-on-year.
Top supermarket chains in Russia last week announced they were freezing the prices of basic goods in a bid to protect the poor from inflation.
Food prices rose by 15 per cent in 2014, according to official statistics.
The massive price increases have prompted Moscow to crack down on traders for abusive practices, uncovering cases in which cabbage prices jumped 163 per cent, cucumbers 478 per cent and tomatoes 338 per cent.