Investors were bracing for a torrid day for Russian, Ukrainian and wider global markets when they reopen on Tuesday, after Vladimir Putin upped the ante in a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war.
In a lengthy televised address, the Russian president recognised two breakaway regions Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent entities and described Ukraine as an integral part of Russia’s history.
Tensions have already rattled global markets this year and wiped tens of billions of dollars off the value of Russian and Ukraine assets, but Monday’s escalation is expected to cause much worse.
“It is probably an understatement to say that it will be an ugly day (on the markets) tomorrow,” said Viktor Szabo, an emerging market portfolio manager at abrdn in London.
“I was hoping we weren’t going to get here, but this is a significant step.”
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