Russia offers Ukraine financial lifeline

Playing a trump card in his diplomatic contest with the West over Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday said that Russia would come to the rescue of its financially troubled neighbor, providing $15 billion in loans and a sharp discount on natural gas prices. It was a bold and risky move by Russia, given the political chaos in Ukraine, where thousands of anti-government protesters remain encamped in Independence Square in Kiev, the capital.

Playing a trump card in his diplomatic contest with the West over Ukraine, President Vladimir V. Putin on Tuesday said that Russia would come to the rescue of its financially troubled neighbor, providing $15 billion in loans and a sharp discount on natural gas prices. It was a bold and risky move by Russia, given the political chaos in Ukraine, where thousands of anti-government protesters remain encamped in Independence Square in Kiev, the capital.