Putin says Russia had to help 'brotherly' Ukraine

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 19, 2013 3:35 AM
Putin says Russia had to help 'brotherly' Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia had to act to help its "brotherly" neighbor Ukraine out of economic crisis and that Moscow did not oppose Kiev signing a trade pact with Europe as long as it did not harm Russia's economy.

"Now we see that Ukraine is in difficult straits ... if we really say that they are a brotherly nation and people then we must act like close relatives and help this nation," Putin said in an annual news conference.

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, editing by Elizabeth Piper)