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Thursday, August 13, 1998 Published at 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK

World: Europe

Soros says Russian economy faces meltdown

The international financier, George Soros, says the financial markets in Russia are in terminal trouble and large-scale foreign assistance is needed to protect the Russian economy.

In a letter to the Financial Times in London, he says the Russian currency needs to be devalued and a currency board set up to stabilise the situation by pegging the rouble to the dollar or the euro.

He says the Group of Seven richest nations would need to provide fifteen-billion dollars to support Russia's currency reserves -- and that the cost of a rescue will grow if action is delayed.

He says the Russian banking system has been virtually wiped out by the crisis but worse will follow if the Russian public begins mass withdrawals from savings accounts.

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