Russia, Ukraine reach trade deal on bonds, gas price
Iran Press TV
Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:58PM GMT
Russia and Ukraine have reached a strategic economic and trade agreement under which Kiev is given significant discounts on Russian gas price and billions of dollars in credit.
The Kremlin will invest USD 15 billion from the National Welfare Fund (NWF) in Ukrainian government securities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after trade talks in Moscow with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych.
Under the deal, Moscow will also reduce the price of gas sold to Ukraine by about one-third, and improve work conditions for Ukrainians working in Russia.
Yanukovych travelled to Russia to secure the multi-billion-dollar lifeline for its struggling economy to keep afloat.
"Given the difficulties facing the Ukrainian economy, connected to a significant degree with the global financial and economic crisis, with the goal of supporting the budget of the Ukrainian government, Russia has made the decision to place a portion of reserves in the National Welfare Fund in Ukrainian government securities in an amount totaling USD 15 billion," Putin elaborated.
However, Putin did not elaborate on Kiev's decision to join a Russia-led customs union.
"I want to draw your attention to the fact that this is not tied to any conditions…. I want to calm you down - we have not discussed the issue of Ukraine's accession to the customs union at all today," Putin added.
The two leaders signed several bilateral agreements in various fields - especially trade and commerce.
The meeting comes amid mass demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, with protesters fuming over the president's decision to scrap a trade deal with the European Union.
European Union leaders have blamed Russia for Ukraine's refusal to sign the deal with the union, saying they will not allow Moscow to "veto" deals in Eastern Europe.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Western countries are losing "their sense of reality" over Ukraine's crisis. He has also charged them with using blackmail to cut Kiev off from Russia.
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