(Recasts after Poroshenko comments)
MOSCOW Aug 15 The rouble weakened on Friday
after Ukraine said its artillery had attacked and destroyed a
"significant" part of a Russian armoured column that crossed
into Ukrainian territory overnight.
By 1540 GMT, the rouble was 0.41 percent weaker against the
dollar at 36.18 since Friday's market opening and
had lost 1.02 percent to trade at 48.55 versus the euro.
The Russian currency had strengthened against the dollar
earlier in the session but dropped sharply after reports of the
incident were published, leaving it 0.51 percent weaker at 41.70
against the dollar-euro basket the central bank uses
to gauge the rouble's nominal exchange rate.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said in a statement on
his website that Ukrainian forces had attacked the Russian
A Ukrainian military spokesman separately told journalists
that Ukrainian forces had tracked the column as soon as it
crossed onto Ukrainian soil. Russia denies sending troops into
The Ukrainian comments hit Russian shares in late trading.
Russia's dollar-denominated RTS index ended 0.03
percent higher from Friday's opening at 1,232 points, while the
rouble-based MICEX index traded 0.7 percent higher on the
day at 1,417 points.
Both indexes had risen more than 4 percent over the week on
an apparent easing of tensions between Moscow and the West, but
investors had remained wary after repeated false dawns.
"Geopolitics is still the main driver for the Russian stock
market," said Mikhail Kuzmin of Moscow-based analytical firm
The United States and European Union have threatened tougher
sanctions if Russia intervenes directly in eastern Ukraine,
where government troops are closing in on rebel-held areas.
Further sanctions, which have so far targeted Russian
businessmen and companies as well as the banking, energy and
defence sectors, would hurt Russian asset prices by scaring away
investors and dampening the outlook for Russia's economy.
For rouble poll data see
For Russian equities guide see
For Russian treasury bonds see
Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s
(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)