News / Europe

    Russia Promises Ukraine Cheaper Gas, $15 Billion Loan

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, left, react after signing an agreement in Moscow, Dec. 17, 2013.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, left, react after signing an agreement in Moscow, Dec. 17, 2013.
    VOA News
    Russia has promised to reduce the price of natural gas exports to Ukraine by a third and lend it $15 billion, as pro-European Union demonstrations continue in the capital Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

    The Russian aid was announced Tuesday following a meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Putin said Russia would cut the price of gas for Ukraine to $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. He said it was a temporary measure.

    He also said that Russia would invest $15 billion from its National Welfare Fund in Ukrainian government securities.

    Ukraine needs at least $10 billion to avoid bankruptcy.

    The meeting took place against the backdrop of anti-government protests in Ukraine, which were sparked a month ago when Yanukovych refused to sign an EU trade deal in favor of closer ties with Russia.

    Ukrainian opposition leaders denounced the Russian aid package. Vitali Klitschko said Tuesday that Mr. Yanukovych had handed over Ukraine's national interests, independence and every Ukrainian's prospects for a better life.

    He said the Ukrainian people have the right to know what Yanukovych promised the Kremlin in return for the financial assistance, and called for early elections, saying he was personally challenging the Ukrainian president.

    On Monday, Klitschko announced he was vacating his WBC world heavyweight boxing title to focus on politics. He has said he will run for president in 2015.

    Another opposition leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, also demanded to know the conditions for Moscow's largesse, saying: "I know only one place where there's free cheese - in a mouse trap."

    In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the deal between Kiev and Moscow for Russian financial aid will not address the concerns of the tens of thousands of Ukrainians protesting Yanukovych's decision to abandon an agreement with the EU.

    On Monday, Ukraine's ruling party demanded a sweeping Cabinet reorganization, in a sign the leadership is seeking to placate the pro-EU demonstrators.

    Lawmakers with President Yanukovych's Party of Regions met Monday with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to ask for a "90 percent reshuffle" of his government.

    Earlier, in a bid to ease tensions, Yanukovych offered a number of concessions, including firing senior officials over police violence against protesters.  But the pro-EU opposition has dismissed the moves as half-measures, and leaders are demanding Azarov's resignation as well as early presidential and parliamentary elections.

    Ukraine is facing its biggest political crisis in a decade after Yanukovych failed to sign the long-planned political and trade deal with the European Union last month.  He said significant trade pressure from Russia meant he must first fix relations with his eastern neighbor.

    Russia has strongly opposed the EU deal, which would have anchored Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, in the West.  

    The Ukrainian government, which has sought up to $20 billion in foreign assistance to prop up its struggling economy, has assured the demonstrators that eventually it planned to sign an association agreement with the European Union.

    But the bloc abruptly suspended talks Sunday, saying Ukraine's leadership was being disingenuous.  EU foreign ministers meeting Monday in Brussels reiterated their willingness to strike a deal, but said the next move is up to Kiev.

    A poll by Ukraine's non-governmental Research and Branding group released earlier this month shows 46 percent of Ukrainians favoring the EU trade pact.  Thirty-six percent were shown favoring a rival trade bloc of former Soviet republics and satellite countries that is being pushed by Moscow.

    • Portraits of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov are seen at a barricade during a rally in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 20, 2013.
    • A woman passes by Interior Ministry personnel as they block pro-EU demonstrators near the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 20, 2013.
    • Ukrainian pro-EU demonstrators warm themselves by a fire during a rally in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 20, 2013.
    • A pile of garbage bags left by pro-European integration protesters lies in front of riot police officers in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 20, 2013.
    • A Pro-European Union activist guards an entrance to the tent camp in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 19, 2013.
    • A man reads a newspaper with a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the front page during a pro-European Union rally in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 19, 2013.
    • Pro-European Union activists warm themselves sitting in their shelter inside a barricade during a rally in Independence Square, Kyiv, Dec. 18, 2013.
    • Pro-European Union activists pass through a police line as they march against the government in Kyiv, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • A pro-European Union activist stands while warming himself near a bonfire at a heavily fortified tent camp in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 17, 2013.
    • A man stacks wooden bars showing names of Ukrainian cities and settlements that are hometowns of demonstrators, during a rally in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 16, 2013.
    • Pro-European integration protesters eat free meals near a barricade during a rally in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 16, 2013.
    • Pro-European Union activists rally in Independence Square, Kyiv, Dec. 15, 2013. 

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: King Hughes
    December 17, 2013 12:53 PM
    Money talks. Let's hope Ukrainians reject this. Once the scent of the freshly baked Russian apple pie has drifted away and the sweet treat has been consumed, there will be plenty of stench in the sewers that will remain for years to come. Putrid or Putin; same thing.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora