Ukraine's Yanukovich says Russia bailout not against Europe integration

KIEV Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:53am EST

1 of 2. Supporters of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich watch a broadcast of his news conference as they attend a rally in Kiev December 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday said he had had to accept a $15 billion aid package from Russia because of high gas prices and debt repayments to the IMF, but he said the package did not contradict a policy of integration with Europe.

"There are no contradictions in the course of Ukraine for any (European) integration," he said, adding that Ukraine should maintain good economic relations with all its strategic partners including the EU and Russia.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Gabriela Baczynska)