Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent troops into Crimea as Ukraine muddles through a revolutionReuters

Vladimir Putin has dismissed the plunge in Russia's stock markets and the Rouble's slump to all-time lows against the US dollar and euro as "tactical, temporary" decisions by investors.

The Russian president made the comment at a press conference as he faces accusations by western powers of aggression in his deployment of troops to revolution-gripped Ukraine's Crimea region.

Investors fled Russian markets amid the escalation of the Ukraine crisis. Russia has also cancelled a scheduled debt auction.

Putin claims he moved Russian troops into Crimea to keep the peace and protect his country's interests in the region after a pro-west revolution ousted president Viktor Yanukovich, an ally of the Kremlin. Yanukovich is now in hiding in Russia.

Crimea's population is around 60% ethnic Russians and much of the industry there is owned by Russia.

The European Union (EU) and US have criticised Russia for entering Crimea, which they say breaches Ukrainian sovereignty.

America's Secretary of State called it an "incredibly act of aggression".