(QHA) -

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has called on Russians "not to panic" and to keep their savings in rubles despite the Russian currency's sharp decline.

In an annual interview televised live on December 10, Medvedev said Western sanctions against Russia over its conduct in Ukraine had contributed to the fall of the ruble, which has fallen about 40 percent against the dollar this year and has plumbed new lows frequently in recent weeks.

Medvedev reiterated Russian warnings that the sanctions are also harmful to European nations, saying European countries had lost up to $40 billion as a result.

He said that "according to Russian experts' calculations, Europe will lose another $50 billion next year."

Russian retaliation to the sanctions has included a ban on most food imports from nations that have hit it with sanctions.

Medvedev said many Russians who had bet against the ruble in the past had often lost money in the long run.

He also promised that the government will index pensions and state salaries to compensate for the weaker ruble.