February 24, 2014
Russia has said it would not deal with Ukraine’s interim leaders, calling them “armed mutineers” who stole power from President Viktor Yanukovych. The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev questioned their authority and called the situation in the neighbouring country “a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens”. His comments are being seen as the strongest signal yet that Moscow does not want to be drawn into a bidding war with the West over Ukraine. The new acting leaders in Kiev have said they need $35bn (£21bn) to stave off default, as Russia threatened economic punishment. Mr Medvedev did not say a $15bn (£9bn) bailout for the country was dead. However, he signalled a deal that cuts the price Kiev pays for Russian gas had an expiry date and any extension would have to be negotiated. It comes as the White House said the US was ready to provide financial support to boost an International Monetary Fund aid programme.
Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney said: “The United States, working with partners around the world, stands ready to provide support for Ukraine as it takes the reforms it needs to, to get back to economic stability.” The US has stopped short of fully endorsing the country’s interim leader, parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchinov, as its legitimate ruler. Parliament is running the country until elections are held, and the top positions are held by former opposition figures. Ukraine has issued an arrest warrant for Mr Yanukovych, whose main backer is Moscow and whose exact whereabouts remain unknown. He and other officials are wanted by police for the “mass murder” of protesters last week in Kiev.
Source = Sky News