Asian equities ended mostly lower on Thursday as investors weighed developments in Russia and as focus turned to a raft of global central bank meetings.
Moscow said on Wednesday that it will strike back at Western sanctions by banning certain imports. U.S. poultry imports have already been suspended and officials say U.S. agricultural products and European fruits and vegetables will also be included. The move follows a statement by NATO on Wednesday that Russia amassed around 20,000 troops on Ukraine's border.
The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England kick off their respective policy reviews later in the day followed by the Bank of Japan on Friday.
"The ECB, which has defied the zero bound of interest rates with negative deposit rates, will probably reassure markets that it still has flexible options in its tool box. But for now, the ECB will not commit to full-fledged QE (that entails buying bonds or other assets) given lagged effects of monetary policy and the Bundesbank's resistance," said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank.