The Ukrainian government's economic reforms, including the six-fold hike of natural gas prices for consumers, looks like the right thing to do, but amounts to a humiliation of Ukraine's citizens, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday.
"We talked about it, formally everything is correct, but in essence, it's humiliation," Putin said following a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
On Tuesday, Ukraine's energy regulator announced a six-fold increase in natural gas prices for the country's population starting on April 1, as part of a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce energy subsidies. Between October 1 and April the price of natural gas used for heating homes will only be increased three-fold.
According to the commission, the average increase in gas prices will amount to 280 percent, as agreed to in the IMF memorandum. On March 1, the Ukrainian energy regulator raised natural gas prices for industrial enterprises by 56 percent.
In addition, Ukraine's national bank announced on Tuesday that it will reduce the proportion of Ukrainian government bonds in its portfolio, the goal of which is to minimize its support of Ukraine's gas monopolist, Naftohaz.