Journalists watch a television screen airing Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, center left, sit during their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow has agreed to sharply cut the price for its natural gas supplies to Ukraine and will buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds.
Putin spoke after holding talks today with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, who has faced massive protests at home for spiking a pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.
Protesters in Ukraine, who have camped on the capital’s main square in Kiev for nearly a month, have warily watched the talks with Putin, fearing they could pull Ukraine closer into the Russian orbit.
Putin said the Russian state-controlled gas monopoly, Gazprom, will cut the price that Ukraine must pay for Russian gas deliveries to $268 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current level of about $400 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Putin also said Russia has decided to invest $15 billion in Ukraine’s government bonds.