Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has
launched an impassioned defense of the multi-billion dollar aid package he secured from Russia.
In a televised news conference Thursday, Yanukovich said securing cheaper gas and credits from
Moscow had been the only way to stave off default.
Under the deal reached this week in Moscow, Russia said it would buy up to 15 billion
dollars worth of Ukrainian bonds and securities and slash gas prices for Ukraine by more than
a third. Yanukovich also offered little in the way
of concessions to the thousands of protesters in Kiev, only saying that he would not run
for re-election in 2015 if he felt he might lose.
Opposition groups and protesters continue to rally in the capital’s main square against
the president’s last minute refusal to sign a trade deal with the European Union.