Russian President Vladimir Putin has slashed the cost of gas sold to Ukraine and agreed to buy billions of Ukrainian government bonds, thus convincing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to sign a trade agreement favoring a new alliance with Russia -- rather than with the European Union (EU) which the vast majority of Ukrainians prefer -- the Europe News website reports today (December 17, 2013).
Putin sealed the deal after talks in Moscow with Yanukovych.
The deal sees Russian state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom cutting the price of gas deliveries from January 2014. Putin also said Russia would buy some 11 billion euro of Ukraine's government bonds.
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian protesters have been camping on the main square of Kiev -- the capital of Ukraine -- for nearly a month, because they are angry at the prospect of being drawn back under the influence of the Kremlin. Opposition leaders have warned Yanukovych not to bother coming back to Ukraine if he "sells out" to Russia.