If you are not Ukrainian and own a bar heater some of the worst news to escape the wires today is the 10 per cent uplift in the price of oil and a matching, eyewatering, increase in gas prices, which are now up to £1400 a flame. Both of these being consequences of Putin's much-denied invasion of a European sovereign territory.
If you are Ukrainian you are probably asking us at the western end of the continent to get a grip, adopt some perspective and to explain what "de-Natzifying" actually means. One of the more curious pieces of news today (Thursday 24 February) is that telling us of the Russian siege of Chernobyl, the devastated Ukrainian site they apparently want back. The UK have offered them Wales and Runcorn as part of a package entitled, "Now You Have Made Us Really Cross", but apparently the Russians don't want either.
Our Boris has come out fighting (although not literally; Ukraine is, after all, a long way away) and was heard to say this morning: "Brtain cannot and will not just look away", but then he looked away to the left of him as someone waggled a Party-6 in his eyeline and explained that the under-janitor at No 10 was leaving tomorrow and a party was being thrown to celebrate (he wasn't popular).
There are reports of Ukrainian military air transport being shot down, amphibious landings of Russian troops in Odessa, burnt out military vehicles, Russian helicopters attacking the airfield at Hostomel, but The Times carries a story of the fall in the FTSE of 2.5 per cent by close-of-school this evening and the rise of gold to a one-year high of almost £1,470 an ounce. Mind you, trading on the the Moscow Stock Exchange was suspended this morning, before reopening down 37 per cent and the FTSE is still 45 per cent above the pandemic lows it fell to in March 2020. Silver linings in western Europe are unlike those drawn by the contrails of Russian cruise missiles over Ukrainian cities.
37 per cent down, eh? "Kapow. Take that you pesky Russian people!"
BP is in the dog-house, its stake in Russian energy company Rosneft being called "untenable" and Bob Dudley, ex-chief executive of BP, surely has to consider his position on the Rosneft board, which is unfortunate, as there is a very promising looking team-bonding get-together planned in Minsk next Thursday. In the other wing of the BP head office they are rubbing their hands together, as oil has broken above $105 a barrel for the first time in almost eight years.
Other UK business leaders are a bit concerned, as they reckon the Russian aggression will heighten inflation and hit supply chains, not just because of a steep increase in fuel prices, but because travel and the leisure industry could also be affected. They say that, but a weekend break to Kiev (full board) is still only 50 roubles which, after the currency crashed this morning, is about £2.16.
There will almost certainly be more uncertainty in every corner of every market but, to be frank, we are not yet being shelled and will almost certainly get to live another day.