Don’t be a ‘doormat,’ Russia’s PM tells Ukraine

Renewed violence in Kiev left at least 17 dead

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Russia, which was due to release $2 billion in aid to Ukraine this week, needs a strong government in Kiev, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the cabinet on Thursday.

“We need partners who are in good shape and for the authorities that work in Ukraine to be legitimate and effective, so that people don't wipe their feet on the authorities like a doormat,” Medvedev said in televised remarks.

As renewed violence in Kiev on Thursday left at least 17 dead, Medvedev insisted that Ukraine must “protect its people, protect its security structures... Only in that case can we develop full economic cooperation.”

Russia will “try to do everything to fulfill the promises that were given,” the prime minister said, apparently referring to the $15 bailout deal secured by President Viktor Yanukovych in December soon after he scrapped an agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Russia has so far released the first $3 billion tranche of the money. On Monday, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov pledged $2 billion more in aid “this week.”

Moscow in December also agreed to slash gas prices for Ukraine, whose economy is close to bankruptcy.

Russia’s hawkish Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was set to visit Kiev on Thursday with industry chiefs but he cancelled the visit, blaming the unrest.

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