The ruble slid to the lowest level in six months and stocks fell amid a growing threat of tougher sanctions on Russia as Ukraine said intensified separatist fighting was a “de facto” incursion.
The currency tumbled 1.6 percent to 36.7325 per dollar, the weakest level since March 3, when President Vladimir Putin began his intervention into Ukraine’s Crimea region. The ruble is trading within 0.8 percent of a record low. The Micex Index (INDEXCF) lost 1.9 percent to 1,420.23 by 4:38 p.m. in Moscow. Yields on Russia’s benchmark bonds climbed the most since March, while equities and currencies across eastern Europe tumbled.
The Micex erased its weekly gain after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency security meeting as rebels widened their offensive. The U.S. said Russia may be directing attacks by separatists, souring investor sentiment that improved in recent weeks on optimism that Putin would take steps to ease the conflict that’s claimed more than 2,000 lives.