BREAKING: Moscow stock market plunges nearly 29%; Germany down 4.8%, France down 4.4% and UK down 3.1%
Stock market has plummeted
European markets opened sharply lower on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine.
In the opening minutes of trade the FTSE 100 fell 2.5%, the French CAC 40 dropped 4% and Germany’s Dax was 4% lower.
Earlier, Asian markets and US stock futures plunged on Thursday as news of the military action emerged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 3%. Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost nearly 2% after coming back from a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite moved 1.7% lower.
Oil prices jumped nearly $3 per barrel on unease about possible disruption of Russian supplies.
Putin said the military operation was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, a claim Washington had predicted he would make to justify an invasion. Putin accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. President Joe Biden denounced the attack as “unprovoked and unjustified.”
The war situation is now at a very serious level.
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised to “weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernize” following the “barbaric attack” by Moscow against Ukraine.
“We will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets,” Von der Leyen told reporters on Thursday, “We condemn this barbaric attack and the cynical arguments that are being used to justify it.”
“These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin’s interests and their ability to finance war. And we know that millions of Russians do not want war,” she said. “We will not allow President [Vladimir] Putin to replace the rule of law, by the rule of force, and ruthlessness. Ukraine will prevail.”
Besides that, Japan will suspend the issuance of visas and freeze the assets of people involved in recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, the two separatist-held pro-Moscow regions in eastern Ukraine.
Japan will also ban imports and exports to and from Donetsk and Luhansk, and prohibit the issuance and circulation of Russian bonds in Japan.
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