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Russia has decided to provide Ukraine with a $15 billion and cut price for gas supplies because Moscow sees Kiev as a brotherly nation in a difficult situation, Putin said at his annual marathon press conference in Moscow on Thursday.
“If we really say that [the Ukrainian people] are a brother people, and a brother country, then we are obliged to conduct ourselves as a close relative and help the Ukrainian people in this difficult situation,” said Putin.
The cost of insuring Ukraine’s debt is only exceeded by Venezuela and Argentina, according to Bloomberg.
The Russian president noted that his country was not going to support Ukrainian economy at its own expense.
Putin said Thursday that the multibillion dollar financial assistance package agreed with Ukraine earlier this week was a loan, and that he expects the money to be returned.
The $15 billion loan to Ukraine is “repayable money,” Putin said.
“It will be listed on the Irish stock exchange, according to English law. It is, therefore, protected and I don’t see any waste,” said Putin.
If Ukraine signed up for the EU technical standards, it would lose the Russian market completely. For Ukraine, it would take much time and hundreds of billions of dollars to switch to EU standards, he said.
Putin reiterated that Moscow did not oppose Kiev’s association with the EU but Russia had to protect its market in case Ukraine opened its borders for European goods.
“In these circumstances we’ve made a decision in the interests of Ukrainian people as well as for pragmatic reasons. We expect we’ll find long-term decisions to cooperate at a deeper level,” Putin said.
It was Putin’s ninth such press conference as president and the second since his return to the Kremlin last May. More than 1,300 reporters gathered for the event. Last year, the marathon conference lasted for four and a half hours.