Ukraine crisis plunges global stock exchanges


Stocks fell sharply globally on Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces into two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, raising the prospect of a long-awaited invasion.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo fell 2.2 percent, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 3.2 percent in early trading Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Oil prices jumped, with US crude rising 2.8 percent.

Futures contracts for the "Standard & Poor's" 500 index fell by 1.7 percent, while contracts for the "Dow Jones Industrial Average" fell 1.5 percent.

US markets were closed Monday for Presidents' Day.

In Europe, stocks fell on Monday, as investors kept eye on developments in the Ukraine crisis.

The German "DAX" index lost 2.1 percent. In Paris, the "CAC 40" index fell by 2 percent, and the British "FTSE 100" index fell by 0.3 percent.

The "MOEX" index in Russia fell by about 11 percent. The ruble fell 3.2 percent against the dollar.

Western powers fear that Russia will use the skirmishes in the eastern regions of Ukraine as a pretext to attack the country, which has defied Moscow's attempts to pull it back into its orbit.

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