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MOSCOW, March 25 (Reuters - President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to negotiate the restructuring of a Russian bailout loan to Cyprus, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
The announcement signals Moscow's support for a 10 billion euro (8.5 billion pounds) European Union rescue deal struck over the weekend, despite concern that Russian depositors in Cyprus could take losses as a result.
Cyprus had requested an extension of an existing 2.5 billion euro Russian loan, and a reduction in the interest it charges to 2.5 percent from 4.5 percent. Talks last week failed to agree on a restructuring.