[February 08, 2014]BOCHAROV RUCHEI, Russia (Reuters) —
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who is facing mass protests and
economic turmoil at home, held a one-on-one meeting with Russia's
Vladimir Putin in Sochi on the day of the opening of the Winter
Olympics, a Kremlin aide said on Saturday.
Friday's talks between the two presidents in the Russian Black Sea
resort on the sidelines of the Olympic celebrations had been
Moscow has frozen aid to Ukraine until it knows who will be named in
place of the pro-Russian prime minister removed last week in a bid
to appease opposition leaders and thousands of protesters rallying
in central Kiev against Yanukovich's rule.
"There was a contact (between Putin and Yanukovich) in the course of
the (Olympic) events. It was a one-on-one (meeting) during the
opening events," Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told
Ushakov declined to say what had been discussed or whether any
agreements had been reached.
Ukraine, which is struggling to prop up its currency amid the
political turmoil and a debt crisis that has left it on the verge of
bankruptcy, sorely needs Russia's financial aid.
While the details of the latest meeting are unclear, a similar
tete-a-tete between the two leaders late last year is thought to
have led to Yanukovich's last-minute decision to spurn a trade deal
with the European Union in favor of deeper economic ties with