BRUSSELS Jan 28 Russia will honour its pledge
to lend Ukraine $15 billion and reduce the price of gas it
supplies to its neighbour even if the opposition forms the next
government, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
However, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said
soon afterwards that Russia and Ukraine had no agreement yet on
the second tranche of the $15 billion loan and talks between
finance ministries were continuing.
Ukraine's prime minister, Mykola Azarov, resigned earlier on
Tuesday following weeks of protests.
"Regarding your question whether we will review our
agreements on loans and the energy sector if the opposition will
take power ... No, we will not," Putin told a news conference
after talks with European Union leaders in Brussels.
The loan was to "support the people of Ukraine, not the
government. It's the people, the common people that suffer,"
Russia would, however, be monitoring Ukraine's economic
health very closely as the loan needed to be repaid.
"Despite our large gold and currency reserves, government
reserves, $15 billion is the amount that IMF, a major global
organisation, was planning to give to Ukraine. Russia is alone
giving it and we want to be sure we get this money back," he
"Therefore it is important regardless of which political
force leads the government, what economic policy they are
intending to apply," he said.