European markets get the jitters over Ukraine - equities falling on reports of tens of thousands of Russian troops massing on the border, and airlines under scrutiny as Vladimir Putin orders retaliatory sanctions against the West. Joel Flynn reports.
Sanctions on Russia could be beginning to bite. These travel industry workers are out of a job, their employer forced to close - sanctions helping to push the rouble lower and adding to pressure on businesses like these. Thousands of Russian tourists are stranded abroad. And the workers think they know what's to blame. SOUNDBITE: Tourism Manager, Olga, saying (Russian): "It's the political situation and probably someone's own personal interest that caused the collapse. It's nothing to do with us or those who were merely dreaming of a holiday." SOUNDBITE: Tourism Manager, Yelena, saying (Russian): "It's the economy and the political situation with Ukraine that's to blame." The zero-sum political game between Russia and the West shows no signs of abating. Tit-for-tat exchanges of sanctions and restricting business operations on the increase. And despite the economic situation in Russia looking more and more fragile, President Vladimir Putin remained defiant in his most recent remarks. SOUNDBITE: Russian President, Vladimir Putin, saying (Russian): "The political instruments of applying economic pressure are unacceptable. They contradict all international norms and rules, and as a result the Russian government has already proposed some retaliatory measures to the so-called sanctions imposed by some countries." European stocks are down on worries over what might happen next - the euro coming under pressure as well. Coca-cola has withdrawn advertising in Russia. The possibility of Russia banning Western flights over Siberia is adding to concern. Will Hobbs is from Barclays. SOUNDBITE: Barclays Market Analyst, Will Hobbs, saying (English): "There's almost unlimited downside and very, very little upside from any further escalation of this conflict from both sides. However, the large paramilitary presence on both sides does indicate that there's room for a mis-step and there's room for this to broaden out accidentally almost." Pro-Russian separatists say they're in a siege situation in eastern Ukraine. Reports say Russia is now building its military presence at the Ukrainian border. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. SOUNDBITE: Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, saying (Polish): "We have reason to believe the risk of a direct intervention by Russia's military in Ukraine is certainly higher than it was several days ago." NATO estimates 20,000 Russian troops are deployed along the border - and warns that Russia could use the excuse of a humanitarian or peacekeeping mission to send them into Ukraine.