Markets across Asia tumbled Monday as Ukraine began mobilizing for war after Russian President Vladimir Putin acquired his parliament's approval to forcefully move troops into Crimea.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations claimed that there are 15,000 Russian troops in Crimea, which has been facing the wrath of pro-Russia protesters opposed to the new government in Kiev, headed by interim President Oleksandr Turchynov who has ordered the Ukrainian army to be on “combat alert” after Putin began forcefully deploying troops in Crimea, and reportedly ordered the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to return.
U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders of the European Union have expressed concerns on Russia’s reaction to the crisis in Crimea, which is home to a large part of Ukraine's Russian minority population. On a phone call late Sunday, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly discussed the situation with Obama saying that Russia’s intervention in Crimea was a “violation of international law,” according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the U.S., UK and France have pulled out of preparatory talks for the G8 summit, scheduled in Sochi in June.
"Obama and Merkel were in agreement that it is particularly important for the international community to show unity in the face of this wrong," Merkel’s office said, in a statement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Moscow may face repercussions for its intervention in Crimea in the form of economic sanctions while NATO called for an emergency meeting Sunday with 28 ambassadors after Putin’s approval came through.
Asian markets reacted strongly to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the possibility of a war in Crimea, and the jitters were reflected in oil prices, which jumped more than $2 a barrel while gold gained more than 1 percent as demand for the safe-haven asset grew. Here’s a list of how various Asian stock markets were doing Monday:
Australian index ATX ended down 2.08 percent while the S&P ASX 200 ended the day down 0.38 percent.
Korean stock exchange Kospi dropped 0.77 percent Monday. (closing level)
Hang Seng, Hong Kong’s benchmark was down 0.88 percent (2:10 p.m. local time). In contrast, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.5 percent.
Nikkei slumped 1.27 percent Monday. (3 p.m. local time)
Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.82 percent. (2:35 p.m. local time)
Indonesia's IDX was down 1.01 percent. (1:35 p.m. local time)
The Philippines' PSE was down 0.09 percent (2:39 p.m. local time)
The FTSE Bursa Malaysia was trading down 1.99 percent (3:30 p.m. local time)
India’s benchmark BSE Sensex slipped 0.13 percent (at 12:08 p.m. local time)