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Russia says to release $2 bn of Ukraine aid this week

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Moscow said Monday it would release two billion dollars this week from a vital aid package to Ukraine it had effectively frozen when protests escalated last month.

Asked about the next tranche of the $15 billion package, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Russian news agencies: "This week, two billion."

Russia had granted its crisis-hit neighbour a crucial lifeline in December but said in late January it was suspending payment until a clearer picture emerged from the political turmoil.

"Let's wait until a new government is formed in Ukraine," President Vladimir Putin had said, a day after the Ukrainian prime minister and his entire government resigned in a bid to stem a swell of protests.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been demonstrating since November against President Viktor Yanukovych's 11th-hour decision to turn his back on a deal with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140217/russia-says-release-2-bn-ukraine-aid-week