Equity markets fell for the third straight session on Friday as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensified.

The 30-share BSE Sensex dived 769 points, or 1.40%, to close at 54,334. The broader 50-share NSE Nifty slumped 253 points, or 1.53%, to close at 16,245.

Titan, Maruti Suzuki India, Asian Paints, Mahindra & Mahindra and Hindustan Unilever Limited were the biggest drags on the Sensex, slipping up to 5.05%. Meanwhile, ITC, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Tech Mahindra and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers.

As the Sensex slipped below the 54,000-mark, the index hit its lowest levels in seven months, according to Reuters.

Experts said that the market sentiments were gloomy due to the situation in Ukraine, where the Russian invasion entered its ninth day. Early on Friday, fire broke out at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant following Russian strikes on the facility in southeastern Ukraine. The blaze has now been extinguished.

As a result of the sanctions imposed on Russia by western countries, crude oil prices have shot up to the highest levels in nine years. Experts have pointed out that the development is likely to put pressure on inflation in India, the world’s third-largest importer of crude oil.

Retail inflation had already breached the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance level in January.

“The inflation in January just touched the upper tolerance level of 6% and the Reserve Bank of India is likely to look at the persistence of high inflation before taking a decision on policy rates,” Mohit Ralhan, a managing partner at financial services firm, TIW Capital Group, told Reuters.