Feb. 27 - As the IMF announces a fact-finding mission to Ukraine, tensions there are curbing risk appetite and weighing on stocks while the euro, already under pressure from interest rate cut talk, hit a two-week low. David Pollard reports.
'Crimea is Russian' reads this slogan. Nearby over the Crimean parliament, flies the Russian flag - put there by armed men who seized the building. Just the latest sign of an escalating tension that Ukrainian leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and his colleagues are desperate to quell, even as they met in parliament to form a new government. SOUNDBITE (English) PRIME MINISTER NOMINEE, ARSENIY YATSENYUK, SAYING: "We are committed to territorial integrity and unity of my country. And the new government will do everything and use all legal means to stabilise the situation in Crimea.'' Russian troops are on high alert along the Ukrainian border. And as the rhetoric builds, so do market jitters. With the United States warning that Russian military intervention would be a 'grave mistake', it's a nervous wait to see what the Kremlin might do next. Barclays' Will Hobbs. SOUNDBITE (English) William Hobbs, Head of Equity Strategy, Barclays Wealth, saying: ''The prospects for a sort of, you know, a renewed, renewed sort of hostilities or froideur between the West and Russia is certainly rising ...... Russia has definitely got a very delicate game to play here.'' The latest developments helped push the rouble to a five-year low, the Ukrainian hryvnia to an all-time low, weighed on stocks - and the euro. And - added more anxiety to existing worries over emerging markets. WPP boss, Sir Martin Sorrell. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP Group, saying: ''The biggest thing at the moment for us is foreign exchange in the fast-growth markets. We've seen declines in the rouble, the Turkish lira, the Brazilian real, all of very significant proportions.'' In 1954 Crimea was ceded to Ukraine by the former Soviet Union. It's still home to Russia's Black Sea naval fleet - and its Russian-speaking majority is seen as the last big bastion of opposition to Ukraine's new leadership. It appears intent on making its voice heard.