MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that political tensions in Ukraine should not be allowed to affect trade between the two countries.
“Escalation should be avoided as should the introduction of a political component to economic cooperation,” Putin said.
“We see a certain political tension, but it should not affect our current economic cooperation. No one should add extra difficulties to the situation. It is necessary to work with all of our traditional partners, of course taking into account our interests.”
Troops lacking official insignia but bearing Russian military weapons and uniforms have spread across Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in the past week. Putin and senior Russian ministers have denied that they are Russian troops, despite evidence to the contrary from observers on the ground.
The European Union announced Wednesday that it will provide Ukraine with 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in financial assistance over the next two years, adding to $1 billion pledged by the United States when Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev on Tuesday.