Banks suffer as European shares tumble on Ukraine tensions
* Euro STOXX Volatility Index surges more than 20 pct
* FTSEurofirst 300 falls 2 pct, ESTOXX 50 off 2.5 pct
* FTSEurofirst set for worst daily fall since Jan 24.
* Some traders see Ukraine resolution in coming weeks
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - Escalating tensions in Ukraine hit European shares on Monday, with banks and other companies exposed to the region among the hardest-hit.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which rose 16 percent in 2013, was down 2 percent at 1,321.71 points by mid-session trading, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index retreated 2.5 percent to 3,070.21 points.
The uncertainty over the situation in Ukraine, which is in conflict with Russia over Ukraine's Crimea region and the future political direction of Kiev, also caused the Euro STOXX Volatility Index to surge 27.6 percent to 21.39 points.
The rise in the Euro STOXX Volatility Index led it to challenge its 2014 peak of 24.60 points, while the FTSEurofirst was on track for its worst one-day fall since a 2.4 percent drop on Jan. 24 this year. Continuación...