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Brent oil hits 8-year high, Bitcoin plunges as Ukraine crisis escalates

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Working pumpjacks are seen in the Montebello Oil Field in Montebello, California, on Wednesday. (Photo: AFP)

Brent oil surged to US$100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 as Russia’s dramatic escalation of the Ukraine crisis sparked fears of a disruption to the region’s critical energy exports.

Futures in London jumped as much as 3.3% after a report that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has decided to conduct a special operation to “protect” the Donbas region. This week, Putin announced he had sent “peacekeeping forces” into the two separatist regions recognised by Moscow, heightening fears among western governments of a full-blown invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is a key supplier of energy to global customers, with Europe relying on the nation for about a quarter of its oil supplies and a third of its gas.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin slumped to a one-month low.

The largest token fell as much as 7.4% to $34,783 after an…

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