Russian ruble hits record low, Moscow index down more than 30% as Putin launches invasion of Ukraine

Russian ruble hits record low, Moscow index down more than 30% as Putin launches invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s ruble and its main stock index plunged Thursday as the country’s military invaded Ukraine.

The dollar was up more than 10% against the Russian currency as the day began, sending the ruble to its lowest level ever against the dollar. Moscow’s main equities index, the MOEX, fell as much as 45% after trading was temporarily suspended shortly after opening, its worst one-day drop on record.

The ruble was trading at 89.89 to the dollar at 8: 40 a.m. in Moscow, with the greenback up 10.45% against it from the previous day. The ruble pared some of its losses later in the day, trading at 87.53 to the dollar just after 7 p.m. local time.

The MOEX was trading roughly 33% lower at that time, while Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS index was down more than 38%.

Putin declared what he called a “special military operation” early Thursday morning, just two days after sending troops into Ukraine’s eastern breakaway regions in Donetsk and Luhansk. The latest news follows months of Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s borders with troop numbers counting as many as 150,000.

The situation in Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating, and specific reports from the country are difficult to confirm.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba┬áreported just after 7 a.m. local time that Russia had begun intense shelling of Ukraine’s units in the country’s east.

Ukraine’s air force said it was repelling an air attack, and authorities reported that attacks on Ukraine’s border units are being carried out with the use of artillery and other heavy equipment.

Another attack is now taking place from the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea, Ukraine’s military said, as sirens sounded in the capital Kyiv. Ukraine’s government has warned its citizens to hide in shelters to avoid possible missile attacks on Kyiv.

NATO is set to hold an emergency meeting in response to the invasion. U.S. President Joe Biden condemned Putin’s actions, vowing to impose “severe sanctions on Russia.”

“Putin has chosen a path of destruction,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The attack sent asset markets gyrating around the world.

U.S. stock futures were trading in the red, and oil prices were sharply higher. Europe’s STOXX 600 index hit its lowest since May last year, according to Reuters, pulled down by Germany’s DAX. International benchmark Brent crude surpassed $100 for the first time since 2014.

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