As pro-Russia rebels declared victory in a referendum on self-rule in eastern Ukraine, analysts say investors should get ready for a ratcheting up of tensions between the West and Moscow.
"The vote is potentially significant because what it could do is encourage separatist leaders to believe that they might have more support in the region than they do," said Graeme Gill, a professor at the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
"And that could make them more intransigent in terms of their relationship with Kiev," he said referring to the interim government in Ukraine's capital city.
A crisis in Ukraine has soured relations between the West and Russia. Western countries are wary of the similarities of Sunday's vote in the eastern Ukraine region of Donetsk to a referendum held in the Crimea region in March that became a prelude to an annexation by Russia.
Reuters reported on Monday that separatist leaders in Donetsk had asked Moscow to consider absorbing it into Russia.
Russian authorities said on Monday that they respected the outcome of the eastern Ukraine referendum and that the results should be implemented peacefully.
In a move that could ratchet up the pressure on the government in Kiev, Bloomberg reported Monday afternoon that the chief executive of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexy Miller, had said the company would cut off its supply on June 3 if outstanding bills were not paid.
Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels Monday and agreed to impose sanctions on two Crimean companies and 13 more Russians and Ukrainians, according to Reuters. The names of the individuals and companies will be made public on Tuesday.