Europe's main stock markets retreated Tuesday on stubborn Ukraine worries and weak investor sentiment in eurozone powerhouse Germany, dealers said.
Nearing midday, London's FTSE 100 fell 0.23 percent to 6,551.91 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.57 percent to 9,128.29 points and the Paris CAC 40 reversed 0.13 percent to 4,267.16 compared with Monday's close.
The euro slid to $1.3909 from $1.3931 late on Monday in New York.
“It's been a fairly choppy trading day thus far with investors naturally keeping an eye on any escalation in sanctions between the US, EU and Russia over Crimea," said analyst Joshua Raymond at traders City Index.
"Right now, I don’t think investors see the sanctions as being too troublesome but clearly any significant escalation will begin to impact on risk appetite."
The United States and European Union on Monday slapped sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, a day after Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to return to Moscow's fold.
Western governments said they would freeze assets of key Russian presidential aides and lawmakers and target Crimean "separatist" leaders as well as ousted former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
And President Barack Obama warned of further measures if Moscow continues to intervene.
Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty on the strategic Black Sea peninsula becoming part of Russia.
Uncertainty about the economic fallout from the Ukraine crisis pushed German investor sentiment to a seven-month low in March, a survey found Tuesday.
The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute fell by 9.1 points to 46.6 points in March, its lowest level since August 2013, it said in a statement.
It was the third straight monthly drop in a row and much steeper than analysts had been expecting.
"Data out today has not been terrific with German sentiment weaker than expected," added Raymond.
Gold meanwhile hit one-week lows as dealers took profits from recent gains. Prices slid to $1,362.50 per ounce on Tuesday, from $1,378.50 late on Monday.
That weighed on London-listed gold miners Fresnillo and Randgold, whose share prices slid by 5.03 percent and 1.69 percent to stand at 878 pence and 4,885 pence respectively.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Asian equities rose following a Wall Street rally as traders set aside Ukraine worries and turned their attention to economic matters, dealers said.
Better than expected US data provided support as investors await the outcome of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting on Wednesday.
Hong Kong climbed 0.51 percent, Tokyo stocks rose 0.94 percent, Seoul added 0.66 percent and Sydney advanced 0.51 percent.
"The Ukraine situation remains delicate, but at least has not spilled over into violence, despite the opposition by Western powers," said Daiwa Securities senior strategist Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi.