Russia told Ukraine on Tuesday it had transferred the first two billion euros of a 10 billion euro billion bailout which was offered as part of plans to keep Kiev firmly within Moscow’s orbit and out of the European Union’s embrace.
President Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine the lifeline last week, along with a discount in the price Kiev pays for vital Russian gas.
Mykola Azarov, Ukrainian Prime Minister, commented on the deal: “For us it is a stabilising factor, a very significant stabilising factor. Thanks to the agreement, our (credit) rating has improved, which means we have left the zone – the financial situation – which we found ourselves in,” he said
The prime minister was in Moscow to observe a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. The council plans to develop into a controversial customs union, formed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Any signal that Ukraine might join the customs union would re-invigorate demonstrations in Kyiv.
The pro-EU protesters have vowed to remain until Ukraine signs a deal with Europe.