Russia's economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from output in the final quarter of 2013, a minister said on Wednesday highlighting the risk of a recession due to the standoff in Ukraine.
Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said that the economy grew just 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from activity in the same period last year.
But it contracted 0.5 percent from activity in the fourth quarter after seasonal adjustment, Russian news agencies reported.
A recession is usually defined as two quarters running of shrinking quarter-on-quarter growth. Many analysts believe Russia will fall into recession owing to the impact of the Ukraine crisis.
Ulyukayev did not specifically mention Ukraine but admitted that the Russian economy was now being hit by increased market uncertainty and capital flight because of the "international situation".
He said: "The economic situation has become even more strained and internal factors have been exacerbated by a high level of uncertainty on currency and financial markets, serious capital flight, an unreadiness by investors to take decisions in this acute international situation which has taken shape in the last two months."
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov had said on Tuesday that Russia risked posting zero growth this year and warned that Russia's economy faced "the most difficult conditions since the 2008 crisis," when it went into deep recession.