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Putin says Russia helps Ukraine as brotherly nation

English.news.cn   2013-12-19 17:07:21            

MOSCOW, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Russia decided to provide Ukraine with loans and cut price for gas supplies because Moscow sees Kiev as a brotherly nation in difficult situation, President Vladimir Putin said at his annual press conference on Thursday.

"We should behave as close relatives and support Ukrainian people," Putin said.

No one attempted to "suffocate" Ukrainians but if they wanted to be independent, they had to pay for that, he said.

The Russian president noted that his country was not going to support Ukrainian economy at its own expense.

If Ukraine signed up for the European Union's (EU) technical standards, it would lose Russian market completely. For Ukraine, it would take much time and hundreds of billions of dollars to switch for EU standards, he said.

Putin reiterated that Moscow did not oppose Kiev's association with the EU but Russia had to protect its market in case Ukraine opened its borders for European goods.

"In these circumstances we've made a decision in the interests of Ukrainian people as well as for pragmatic reasons. We expect we'll find long-term decisions to cooperate at a deeper level," Putin said.

It was Putin's ninth such press conference as president and the second since his returned to the Kremlin last May. More than 1,300 reporters gathered for the event. Last year, the marathon conference lasted for 4.5 hours.

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Editor: Yang Yi
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