Russia has transferred the first $3 billion of a financial rescue package to Ukraine as part its plan to help the struggling Ukrainian economy and keep Kiev out of the European Union.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Mykola Azarov, Tuesday in Moscow and said Russia had purchased the first batch of government bonds from Ukraine's Central Bank.
Under the terms of the bailout, signed last week, Russia has promised to reduce the price of natural gas exports to Ukraine by a third and lend the nation $15 billion.
Ukraine's pro-European Union supporters have been protesting their government's decision to scrap a landmark trade deal with the EU in favor of strengthening ties with Moscow.
The Ukrainian government, which has sought up to $20 billion in foreign assistance, has assured the demonstrators that eventually it plans to sign an association agreement with the European Union.