Ruble falls as Russian stock exchanges suspend trading
The Russian ruble fell on Thursday as the Moscow Exchange and St. Petersburg Stock Exchange put all operations on hold following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a “special military operation” in the Donbass republics.
The US dollar rose above 84 rubles for the first time since January 2016, Russian media reported. The exchange rate as of Thursday morning was 86.21 rubles per dollar or 96.90 rubles per euro. The Moscow Exchange halted trading in rubles after quotes reached the trading band limits set by the exchange itself.
In a statement, the Moscow Exchange announced that it had “suspended trading on all of its markets until further notice.” The St. Petersburg Stock Exchange followed suit shortly afterwards.
The Moscow Exchange showed a large drop in all stocks, including food retailer Magnit (-14.51%), mobile network MTS (-14.09%), mining company Nornickel (-12.39%), and energy corporation Gazprom (-11.50%), among many others.
President Putin announced a “special military operation” in the Donbass early on Thursday after the newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics requested Russian military assistance to defend against “Ukrainian aggression.”
The Russian leader insisted, however, that there were “no plans to occupy the Ukrainian territories” and that it would not “impose anything on anyone by force,” but stressed that Moscow wants to “demilitarize” Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed Russia had “launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine” and “a war of aggression.”
Representatives of the United Nations, NATO, the European Commission, the United States, Canada, France, and Germany condemned Moscow’s decision and have threatened a joint response.