By KEN SWEET and ELLEN KNICKMEYER
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russian ruble has bounced back to almost its full value since before the West imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. That rebound comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin resorts to extreme measures to blunt the West’s penalties and inflate his currency. It’s an economic defense Putin may not be able to sustain as long-term sanctions weigh down his economy. Still, the ruble’s recovery could be a sign that the sanctions in their current form may not be enough to hurt Russia as badly as the West would like. Economists say as long as other countries keep buying Russia’s oil and gas, the ruble may escape the drastic damage envisioned by the United States and some allies.