KIEV Dec 19 The Ukrainian government said on
Thursday it was issuing a $3 billion eurobond over two years at
an interest rate of 5 per cent, in what appeared to be the start
of a promised Russian aid package worth $15 billion.
The issue, announced in a government order, did not
specifically mention any deal with Russia.
But it was almost certainly the first tranche of a $15
billion aid package of credits and cheaper gas - extending up to
the end of next year - which Russia has agreed with the former
Soviet republic to help it out of an acute economic crisis.
The deal with Russia, Ukraine's Soviet-era overlord, was put
together in Moscow on Tuesday by Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovich and Russia's Vladimir Putin, weeks after Kiev spurned
a trade pact with the EU, touching off anti-government protests.
Kiev needs cash to cover an external funding gap of $17
billion in 2014 - almost the level of the central bank's
currency reserves, depleted by efforts to support the hryvnia
and repay foreign debt - and has won some breathing space with
the Moscow bailout.