Russia to give $1 bn in aid to Crimea: lawmaker

Pro-Russian supporters take part in a rally in the center of Donetsk on March 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine: Moscow is ready to provide $1.1 billion (790 million euros) in aid to Crimea as the region moves to break away from Ukraine, a senior Russian lawmaker said Sunday.

"The Russian government has already reserved a lot of money, it's around 40 billion rubles, to support the development of the industrial and economic infrastructure of Crimea," Pavel Dorokhin, deputy chair of the State Duma committee on industry, told reporters in the regional capital Simferopol, Interfax reported.

"Primarily this is support for enterprises linked to the defence industry, machine building, and maintenance of ships, including the ships of the Black Sea fleet. Here we envisage quite clear measures," Dorokhin said.

The southern Ukrainian peninsula will hold a referendum on March 16 on joining Russia, after pro-Moscow lawmakers seized power and Russian troops flooded into the region.

Russia has deep economic interests in Crimea, where the Russian Black Sea fleet is based in the city of Sevastopol under an agreement due to expire in 2035 that sees Moscow lease the port in exchange for a 30 percent reduction in the price of Russian gas.





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