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Stock Markets Plunge as Investors Worry About Ukraine

Stock markets plunged around the world Monday as investors reacted to the Russian military takeover of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

The fallout reached seismic proportions in Moscow, where the stock market fell more than 11 percent, erasing nearly $60 billion off the value of Russian companies.

The value of the Russian currency, the ruble, dropped to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, prompting the Russian central bank to boost its key lending rate 1.5 percent.

The selloff started in Asia and quickly spread through European and U.S. exchanges. The U.S. Dow Jones average closed down one percent, while London's FTSE 100 index fell 1.5 percent.

World political turmoil frequently sends stock markets into a plunge. It is not clear how long global markets will react to Russian President Vladimir Putin's troop deployment in Crimea.

Russian Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach called the plunging stocks a market "hysteria" and predicted it would subside.

The chief executive of a British investment brokerage, Nigel Green of deVere Group, said he also thinks the stock sell-off will prove to be short-lived.

Both the United States and its European allies have threatened to impose visa bans and trade restrictions and to impose asset bans that could further roil international markets in the coming days.

Ukraine is in severe economic straits, and Kyiv is seeking new funding from the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union . Ukraine says it needs $35 billion in new funding during the next two years.