By Lidia Kelly and Alissa de Carbonnel MOSCOW/PEREVALNOYE, Ukraine (Reuters) - Russia paid a heavy financial price on Monday for its military intervention in neighboring Ukraine, with stocks, bonds and the rouble plunging as President Vladimir Putin's forces tightened their grip on the Russian-speaking Crimea region. The Moscow stock market fell 10.8 percent, wiping nearly $60 billion off the value of Russian companies - more than the $51 billion Russia spent on the Winter Olympics in Sochi last month. The central bank spent as much as $12 billion of its reserves to prop up the rouble as investors took fright at tensions with the West over the former Soviet republic. Putin declared at the weekend he had the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens. U.S. President Barack Obama called Russia's actions a violation of international law and of Ukraine's sovereignty, saying Washington would look at sanctions to isolate Moscow. "Over time this will be a costly proposition for Russia. And now is the time for them to consider whether they can serve their interests in a way that resorts to diplomacy as opposed to force," he told reporters, saying Putin should let international monitors mediate a deal acceptable to all Ukrainians. The European Union threatened unspecified "targeted measures" unless Russia returns its forces to their bases and opens talks with Ukraine's new government. In his first public appearance for nearly a week, Putin flew to watch military maneuvers in western Russia in what appeared designed as a show of strength. Russia's Black Sea fleet denied reports it had given Ukrainian forces in Crimea an ultimatum to surrender by early on Tuesday or face attack, Interfax news agency said. The United States said any such threat would be a dangerous escalation. Ukraine's acting president said Russia's military presence in Crimea was growing. Ukrainian officials said Russia was building up armor on its side of the 4.5 km (2.7 mile) wide Kerch strait between the Crimean peninsula and southern Russia. Russian forces later began shipping truckloads of troops by ferry into the Crimea region after seizing the border post on the Ukrainian side, Ukraine's border guards spokesman said. He said Russian troops seized the checkpoint after the guards tried to stop two buses carrying seven armed men. The next ferry brought three truckloads of soldiers across. Both sides have so far avoided bloodshed, but the market turmoil highlighted damage the crisis could wreak on Russia's vulnerable economy, making it harder to balance the budget and potentially undermining business and public support for Putin. Russian Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach said market "hysteria" would subside but strains with Brussels and Washington - which has threatened visa bans, asset freezes and trade curbs - would continue to weigh on the economy. On the ground in Perevalnoye, half-way between the Crimean capital of Simferopol and the Black Sea, hundreds of Russian troops in trucks and armored vehicles - without national insignia on their uniforms - were surrounding two military compounds, confining Ukrainian soldiers, who have refused to surrender, as virtual prisoners. Ukraine called up reservists on Sunday after Putin's action provoked what British Foreign Secretary William Hague called "the biggest crisis in Europe in the twenty-first century". NATO allies will hold emergency talks on the crisis in Ukraine on Tuesday, for the second time in three days, following a request from Poland, a neighbor of Ukraine. European Union foreign ministers held out the threat of sanctions against Russia on Monday if Moscow fails to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, while offering to mediate between the two, alongside other international bodies. They agreed no details of any punitive measures against Russia. EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on Thursday. OBSERVER MISSION The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said it was trying to convene an international contact group to help defuse the crisis after Germany said Chancellor Angela Merkel had convinced Putin to accept such an initiative. Switzerland, which chairs the pan-European security body, said the group could discuss sending observers to Ukraine to monitor the rights of national minorities. "There will be very, very broad consensus for that monitoring mission. We call on Russia to join that consensus, make the right choice and pull back its forces," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told OSCE envoys in Vienna. The Russian central bank raised its key lending rate by 1.5 percentage points after the rouble fell to all-time lows. Tension over Ukraine also knocked 2-3 percent off European stock markets and one percent off Wall Street, and sent safe haven gold to a four-month high. Chicago wheat futures rose more than 5 percent and corn about 4 percent amid fears of disruption to shipments from the Black Sea, a major grain-exporting zone. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which supplies Europe through Ukraine, was down nearly 14 percent. Gazprom's finance chief warned Ukraine that it may raise gas prices from next month, accusing Kiev of a patchy payments record, but said gas transit to Europe was normal. Ukraine has been stocking up on gas imports in the last few days to beat a feared rise, a spokesman for its gas transit monopoly said. Ukraine's pro-Western Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, whose government took power when ex-President Viktor Yanukovich, a Russian ally, fled on February 21 after three months of street protests, said Putin had effectively declared war on his nation. Yatseniuk said the government planned to cut spending by 14 to 16 percent as Ukraine prepared for talks on Tuesday with the International Monetary Fund to avert the danger of default. Western leaders have sent a barrage of warnings to Putin against armed action, threatening economic and diplomatic consequences, but are not considering a military response. A Ukrainian border guard spokesman said Russian ships had been moving around the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet has a base, and Russian forces had blocked mobile telephone services in some parts of Crimea. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued an order on Monday to push ahead with a plan agreed with the previous Kiev government to build a bridge over the Kerch strait, which would be Russia's first direct land link to Crimea bypassing Ukraine. RUSSIAN FLAGS FLYING Russian forces seized Crimea, an isolated Black Sea peninsula with an ethnic Russian majority, without firing a shot. All eyes are now on whether Russia makes a military move in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow demonstrators have marched and raised Russian flags over public buildings in several cities in the last three days. Pro-Russian protesters besieged lawmakers inside the regional government building in the eastern city of Donetsk, Yanukovich's hometown, on Monday in the latest such action. Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but so far they have not crossed. Kiev says Moscow is orchestrating the protests to justify a wider invasion. Ukraine's ousted leader Yanukovich has written to Putin requesting that he use the Russian military to restore law and order in Ukraine, Moscow's U.N. envoy said on Monday. "Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence," Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, quoted Yanukovich's letter as saying, brandishing a copy of it at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. "People are being persecuted for language and political reasons." U.S. envoy Samantha Power said there was no evidence ethnic Russians or Russian speakers in Ukraine were under threat. Ukraine's security council has ordered all armed forces to be put on highest alert. However, Kiev's small, under-equipped military is seen as no match for Russia's superpower might. While the EU and NATO stepped up verbal pressure on Moscow, a German spokesman said Merkel believed it was not too late to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by political means despite differences of opinion between Putin and the West. The German leader, who speaks fluent Russian, has had several long telephone calls with the German-speaking Putin since the crisis erupted with mass protests in Kiev, creating a major policy dilemma for Berlin, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas and has close economic ties. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Geneva on Monday, a Russian diplomat said. Lavrov will meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Madrid on Tuesday, RIA Novosti agency said. So far, the Western response has been largely symbolic. Obama and others have suspended preparations for a G8 summit in Sochi. Some countries have recalled ambassadors. On Kiev's Independence Square, or Maidan, where anti-Yanukovich protesters manned barricades for three months, crowds were smaller than in recent days as people returned to work. "Crimea, we are with you!" read one placard. "Putin - Hitler of the 21st century," read another. (Additional reporting by Peter Graff, Sabina Zawadzki, Pavel Polityuk, Natalia Zinets, Timothy Heritage and Stephen Grey in Kiev, Lina Kushch in Donetsk, Peter Apps in London, Steve Holland and Phil Stewart in Washington and Lou Charbonneau at the United Nations; Writing by Paul Taylor and Alistair Lyon; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
- Rolling Stone
Facing intense GOP pressure, Republican strongholds in Arizona are waiting until the last possible moment to certify their election results
- The State
Clarrissa Winchester died Nov. 9 when she was seven months pregnant. The baby died as well.
The family of the late Katie Meyer, formerly Stanford University’s star soccer captain, is suing the university for wrongful death, after Meyer took her life in her dorm room in February. Last week, Santa Clara County ruled that “there is no indication of foul play, and Meyer’s death was determined to be self-inflicted,” prompting Meyer’s family to file a lawsuit on Wednesday, Sports Illustrated reported.
- Sacramento Bee
Emergency officials say ash and Pele’s hair could blanket parts of the island.
"I’m... embarrassed in a certain sense because, you know, this has become a little bit of a scandal for President Trump,” Fuentes noted on his podcast.
This Woman's Boss Said She Had To Either Work Last Minute Or Be Fired, So She Quit, And People Are Cheering Her On
"I'm already approved to take off that weekend..."View Entire Post ›
- Touchdown Wire
The Broncos' defense seems to have had enough of carrying Russell Wilson's water.
Lake, a 2020 election denier, has refused to concede in the state’s gubernatorial race.
- Broncos Wire
Broncos fans want Russell Wilson's social media team to stop the 'tone deaf' tweets while Denver is struggling.
- Ukrayinska Pravda
Yulia, the widow of the deputy head of the Pacific Higher Naval School [one of the Russian Navy's two higher educational institutions], Vadim Boyko, wrote an open letter to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, in which she says that her husband committed "self-execution" after being accused of failing Putin's conscription measures.
- Rutgers Wire
Paul Finebaum gives his four teams for the College Football Playoff.
- NBC Sports BayArea
Deebo Samuel tweeted about former 49ers teammate Raheem Mostert in light of recent comments about the 49ers.
- CBS News
House Republicans are projected to have only a narrow majority. That makes things tougher for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to win election as House speaker.
The royal staff have a secret and pretty rude nickname for the Sussexes, and "flinch" whenever they come up in conversation.
- Roll Tide Wire
Alabama's win over Auburn was enough to bump the Crimson Tide up in the latest USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.
- The Tuscaloosa News
Alabama football is most likely headed to a New Year's SIx bowl game, but which one is still unknown. More will be learned after Tuesday's CFP rankings
- Associated Press
The extended Senate campaign in Georgia between the Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock, and his Republican challenger, football legend Herschel Walker, has grown increasingly bitter as their Dec. 6 runoff nears. With Democrats already assured a Senate majority, it’s a striking contrast from two years ago, when the state's twin runoffs were mostly about which party would control the chamber in Washington. “Herschel Walker ain’t serious,” Warnock told supporters recently in central Georgia, saying that Walker “majors in lying” and fumbles the basics of public policy.
- Good Morning America
First lady Jill Biden on Monday unveiled this year's White House holiday decorations, announcing the theme as "We the People." More than 150 volunteers from across the country spent a week helping to decorate the inside and outside of the White House with 25 wreaths, 77 Christmas trees and over 83,615 holiday lights. There is also a gingerbread White House that was made out of 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate, and 40 pounds of royal icing, according to the office of the first lady.
- NBC News
‘F---ing nightmare’: Trump team does damage control after he dines with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes
Former President Donald Trump distanced himself Friday from a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West,
- Women's Health
Britney Spears is strong all-over and so confident in a nude bathtub selfie she just posted on Instagram. She loves working out with her husband Sam Asghari.