Euro slides and dollar climbs to 20-year high after Putin hints Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons and mobilizes troops for Ukraine
- The euro fell as low as $0.9885 Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will call up more troops.
- Putin said Russia has "lots of weapons to reply" to nuclear blackmail by Western allies.
The euro tumbled and the safe-haven dollar rose Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin accused Western allies of "nuclear blackmail" and hinted Russia is ready to use its own nuclear weapons if needed.
In a televised address, Putin said he has ordered the mobilization of reservist troops to protect Russia's territorial integrity. In recent days, Ukraine's forces have successfully retaken areas of the country from Moscow's forces.
"If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to defend Russia and our people, we will use all means we have," Putin said in his address to the nation, according to a translation by the BBC. "This is not a bluff.
"The territorial integrity of our motherland, our independence and freedom will be secured, I repeat, with all the means we have.
"Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction."
His comments were seen as a veiled threat to use Russia's nuclear arsenal to hold onto territorial gains in Ukraine as the country's forces repel the invaders in key areas.
The euro fell as low as $0.9885, down 0.87%, in early trading. The shared European currency was 0.59% lower at $0.9911 at last check.
Meanwhile, the US dollar index climbed to 110.80, its highest level since 2002, before easing slightly. The index — which tracks the dollar's performance against a basked of the euro and five other major currencies — was up 0.45% to 110.72 at last check.
The dollar is typically seen as a safe-haven asset by investors and tends to strengthen when geopolitical unrest weighs on market sentiment for risk.
The British pound extended its declines after hitting a 37-year low against the dollar last week, slipping 0.32% to $1.1345.
Putin focused on the self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, and the Moscow-controlled regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, where people will vote on whether to become part of Russia.
The partial mobilization of Russia's two million reservists will bring another 300,000 troops with previous military experience into the Ukraine conflict.
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