Putin gambles on Ukraine bailout

Ukrainian President Yanukovich gives a wink to his Russian counterpart Putin during a signing ceremony after a meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission at the Kremlin in MoscowBy Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin has taken a gamble with Russia's own fragile economy by bailing out Ukraine for the sake of keeping it in Moscow's orbit and out of the European Union's embrace. His finance minister, Anton Siluanov, defended Tuesday's deal in the Kremlin with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, which offered Kiev $ 15 billion in credits and slashed a third off the price it pays for vital Russian gas supplies. "I believe that Russia only won," Siluanov told Reuters on Wednesday, dismissing as baseless concerns the accord might damage Moscow's own credibility with investors.

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