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Russian ruble tumbles after violence in eastern Ukraine escalates and oil continues to drop

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his talks with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a news conference after his talks with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin wears special glasses as he visits a recearch facility in "Gorny" University in St. Petersburg on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. In televised comments after a meeting with students in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s army was at fault for the increase in violence  and accused it of using civilians as “cannon fodder” in the conflict. “(Ukraine’s army) is not even an army, it’s a foreign legion, in this case a foreign NATO legion,” Putin said. “They have totally different goals, connected to the geopolitical containment of Russia, which absolutely do not coincide with the national interests of the Ukrainian people.”  (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin wears special glasses as he visits a recearch facility in "Gorny" University in St. Petersburg on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. In televised comments after a meeting with students in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s army was at fault for the increase in violence and accused it of using civilians as “cannon fodder” in the conflict. “(Ukraine’s army) is not even an army, it’s a foreign legion, in this case a foreign NATO legion,” Putin said. “They have totally different goals, connected to the geopolitical containment of Russia, which absolutely do not coincide with the national interests of the Ukrainian people.” (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)  (The Associated Press)

  • People light candles and lay flowers on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, for the victims of a rocket attack on the coastal city of Mariupol. Indiscriminate rocket fire slammed into a market, schools, homes and shops Saturday in Ukraine's southeastern city of Mariupol, killing at least 30 people, authorities said. The Ukrainian president called the blitz a terrorist attack and NATO and the U.S. demanded that Russia stops supporting the rebels. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    People light candles and lay flowers on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, for the victims of a rocket attack on the coastal city of Mariupol. Indiscriminate rocket fire slammed into a market, schools, homes and shops Saturday in Ukraine's southeastern city of Mariupol, killing at least 30 people, authorities said. The Ukrainian president called the blitz a terrorist attack and NATO and the U.S. demanded that Russia stops supporting the rebels. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

The Russian currency has fallen by more than 3 percent after escalated fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend.

The ruble tumbled to 65.8 to the dollar early Monday from 63.7 on opening, after Western leaders announced that they were considering further punitive measures against Russia for what they say is its role in supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials blamed Ukrainian forces for an attack that left 30 dead in the city of Mariupol.

At least 4,700 people have been killed in east Ukraine since fighting began in April, but fighting this week was the most intense since a cease-fire deal was signed in September.

The Russian currency, buffeted by Western sanctions and plummeting oil prices, has already lost about half its value in the past year.