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As pro-European demonstrations continued in Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych at the Kremlin on December 17.

Putin agreed to drastically reduce the price of gas sold to Ukraine by Russia. The cost will fall from over $400 to $268.50 per 1,000 m3 as of January 1. The two also agreed to economic aid in the form of "Russia buying $15bn or €10.9bn of sovereign debt, reports Russian business daily, Kommersant.

The two men further wish "to fully implement a free-trade zone (but not between Ukraine and the EU) [...] which would totally exclude any other options regarding the EU", the paper says.

The gas contract, notes Kommersant, is the same as the one signed in 2009 by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which later resulted in her being convicted for abuse of power.