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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks ended lower Tuesday with investors spooked by escalating tensions in eastern Europe after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised rebel-held areas in Ukraine.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.71 percent, or 461.26 points, to 26,449.61, while the broader Topix index slumped 1.55 percent, or 29.60 points, to 1,881.08.

The dollar fetched 114.74 yen, against 114.82 yen in London late Monday.

In a move that could set off a potentially catastrophic war with Kyiv, Putin ordered Russia’s military to act as peacekeepers in two breakaway regions of Ukraine, just hours after he recognised them as independent.

Headlines on the Ukraine crisis continued to dominate the day’s news, with Western powers swiftly condemning Russia’s action.

In Japan, too, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned of a “strong response” including sanctions, in the event of a Russian invasion.

Soaring tensions led to a risk-averse sentiment spreading among investors, Okasan Online Securities said in a note.

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