Russia may change budget rules to cope with Crimea - deputy PM

BERLIN, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:13am EDT

BERLIN, April 10 (Reuters) - Russia's deputy prime minister has said Moscow may change its budget rules to cope with an additional population of about 2 million people in Crimea, the Ukrainian Black Sea territory annexed by Russian troops last month.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told German daily Die Welt in an interview published on Thursday, when he attended a business conference in Berlin, that Crimea needed investment in infrastructure that could not be covered by existing funds.

"When a country gets 2 million new people ... which need big investments, this cannot be done by just diverting funds from existing state programmes," he was quoted as saying, adding that the roads and ports required "serious investments".

Russian budget rules limit government borrowing to no more than 1 percent of output and link spending to the long-term oil price. But Shuvalov said: "I think it's right for this rule to be changed for two million new Russian citizens in Crimea." (Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Stephen Brown)

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