Banks in Cyprus have been ordered to remain closed until at least next Tuesday (26 March) as the government scrambles to prevent the country slipping into financial meltdown after the attempted 'bail in' of the cypriot banking sector.
Policymakers in Nicosia have begun an emergency meeting to try and establish an arrangement to stabilise the island's perilous economic state and they have instructed financiers to stay shut in order to stop mass cash withdrawals.
Finance minister Michalis Sarris is in Moscow for discussions with his Russian counterpart over the possibility of Russia bailing the nation out.
The major Eurasian superpower holds multi-million dollar investments in Cyprus and Mr Sarris is hopeful that Moscow will agree to provide his country with aid, although he admitted "there were no offers, nothing concrete" after the first round of talks.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank has cranked up the pressure on Cypriot officials by saying it will only provide help through its Emergency Liquidity Assistance scheme until next Monday.
By Tony Aynsley