UPDATE 3-Rouble falls sharply as Moscow says ready to help Belarus if asked

* Rouble falls amid geopolitical concerns

* Rouble hits 75.01 vs dollar, weakest since early May

* Rouble hits 88.30 vs euro, weakest since March 30

* Sberbank shares helped by bank’s dividend plan (Adds Belarusian rouble, updates figures)

By Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Andrey Ostroukh

MOSCOW, Aug 21 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble fell to multi-month lows on Friday after Moscow said it was ready to help neighbouring Belarus resolve its internal political crisis if it is asked for help.

The rouble has come under pressure this month as Belarus has been rocked by demonstrations against its leadership, raising fears that Moscow may somehow become involved.

The Kremlin said earlier this week that it saw no need to help Belarus militarily or otherwise for now due to the unrest there following an Aug. 9 presidential election that protesters say was rigged.

The rouble slipped early on Friday and extended its losses after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would do all it could to help resolve the situation in Belarus should Minsk ask for assistance.

By 1400 GMT the rouble was 1.5% weaker against the dollar at 74.91, having earlier touched 75 versus the greenback for the first time since early May.

The rouble eased more than 0.6% to 88.12 against the euro, a level not seen since late March.

The Belarusian rouble crashed along with its Russian peer, shedding 2% on the day and hitting 2.5380 against the the dollar, its weakest since early April.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was down 1.9% at $44.05 barrel, putting pressure on Russian stocks.

Shares in Russia’s largest lender Sberbank jumped after it said it would pay out 50% of its 2019 profit in dividends. By 1348 GMT, however, Sberbank was down 1% at 230.18 roubles ($3.07) per share.

Earlier on Friday, the management of VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, recommended paying shareholders 2019 dividends worth 10% of its net profit instead of the 50% it had initially planned. VTB shares were down 1.6% on the day.

Russian stock indexes were mixed. The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 1.1% to 1,258.7 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was nearly flat at 2,994.6 points.

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