Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych has said he strongly opposes Western politicians intervening in the crisis in his country.
Asked about their recent visits to the protest camp in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych said: “I am categorically against anybody coming and teaching us how to live.”
The opposition is furious after Viktor Yanukovych accepted a Russian bailout, seen as a reward for rejecting EU integration.
President Vladimir Putin said he was defending the Russian economy.
“We just want to defend our gates,” Vladimir Putin told journalists in Moscow, days after Russia gave Ukraine a $15 billion (10.9 billion euros) bailout and gas discount.
Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said, was a fraternal state with close industrial ties to Russia.
Protests have gripped much of Ukraine since President Viktor Yanukovych suspended the EU deal last month.
The opposition has been demanding to know what, if any, conditions the Kremlin attached to its decision to buy $15 billion in Ukrainian government bonds and slash the gas price from more than $400 per 1,000 cubic metres to $268.5.
Russia’s financial help averted a debt crisis for Ukraine in the short term.
At a news conference in Kiev on Thursday, Viktor Yanukovych was asked about visits to the pro-EU protest camp by foreign politicians who have included US Republican Senator John McCain, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, former German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and others.
“What is very important is that this is our internal matter, and that other countries do not intervene in our internal affairs,” he said.
He said the deal with Moscow did not run counter to Ukraine’s course towards European integration and blamed Ukraine’s current economic problems on the policies of his predecessors, the leaders of Ukraine’s pro-Western Orange Revolution.
Asked why the Ukrainian economy was in such trouble, Viktor Yanukovych said the gas contract signed with Russia by former PM Yulia Tymoshenko in 2009 had incurred a loss of $20 billion.
Another problem, he said, was the repayment of an IMF loan of $16.4 billion negotiated in 2008, and a third factor was the recent fall in trade with Russia and other ex-Soviet states.
Asked about his position on the Customs Union led by Russia, Viktor Yanukovych said that Ukraine only had observer status but he suggested that it could adopt certain clauses.
“Ukraine’s government is studying these clauses and, once conclusions are drawn, the corresponding transparent decisions will be taken on which clauses we will adhere to,” he said.
Ukraine’s pro-EU protesters have rejected any move to join the Customs Union, which was set up in 2010 and includes Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.