MOSCOW, April 17 Russian President Vladimir
Putin said the costs of subsidising programmes related to
annexed Crimea would not exceed 100 billion roubles ($2.8
billion) this year.
Russia in March approved an initial package of financial aid
for Crimea to help the local economy, as it consolidates control
over the region it annexed from neighbouring Ukraine.
Any additional strain on Russia's budget and social payments
could hurt Putin's approval rating.
"We have put aside as a government reserve 240 billion
roubles this year," Putin said in a televised address to the
nation. "Costs subsidising Crimea programmes will not exceed 100
In the medium term, Putin said he was confident that Crimea
would become self-sufficient.
Russia's finance minister Anton Siluanov said last month
that Russia had budget reserves of around 240 billion which
could be used for aid to Crimea. evoted to break away from
Ukraine on March 16, is important to Putin's hopes of
maintaining the support of the local population and keeping his
popularity ratings high across Russia.
($1 = 36.0942 Russian roubles)
(Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin and Jason Bush; Writing by Megan
Davies; Editing by Larry King)