European shares sink over fears Russia may invade Ukraine

European shares hit their lowest level in 20 days, with travel, banking and auto stocks leading the slump on Monday, as investors fretted over geopolitical risks following warnings that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time.

The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index fell 2% by 0808 GMT - hitting its lowest since Jan. 25. All the major sub-sectors were in the red, with travel & leisure, banking and automakers falling the most with losses of over 3%.

The energy sector slipped 0.5%, falling the least as oil prices hit their highest in more than seven years.

Global investors dumped riskier assets and moved to safe-haven assets such as gold and government bonds after a warning from the United States that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time and might create a surprise pretext for an attack.

Among stocks, Clariant slumped 16.5% as the Swiss speciality chemicals group delayed the release of its 2021 results due to an investigation into accounting issues.

Commerzbank fell 7.5% after Germany's finance minister said the government would not keep its stake in the lender in the long run.