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President Vladimir Putin portrayed on Thursday Russia's bailout of Ukraine as an act of brotherly love to stave off economic crisis and said it was not designed to keep Kiev out of the European Union's clutches. Russia agreed on Tuesday to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian Eurobonds and cut the price Kiev pays for Russian gas, weeks after Kiev spurned a trade pact with the EU, touching off anti-government protests. "Now we see that Ukraine is in difficult straits ... if we really say that they are a brotherly nation and people then we must act like close relatives and help this nation," Putin told his annual news conference. "In no way is this connected with the Maidan (protests in central Kiev) or the European talks with Ukraine." Putin reiterated that the decision to reduce the gas price was a temporary move but he hoped to "agree on long-term cooperation" in the energy sector.