World

Russia to consider aid to Ukraine, humanitarian assistance to its province of Crimea

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych shake hands after signing an agreement during their talks in Moscow. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych shake hands after signing an agreement during their talks in Moscow. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych talk during a news conference in Moscow. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)

    FILE - In this Tuesday Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych talk during a news conference in Moscow. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shows the way to his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych during a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool, file)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shows the way to his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych during a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Moscow on Wednesday granted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych protection "on the territory of Russia," shortly after the fugitive leader sought help from the Kremlin, according to an official quoted by Russian news agencies. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool, file)  (The Associated Press)

In his first reaction to the Ukraine crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to consider humanitarian assistance to the Russian-speaking region of Crimea and talk to the West about bailing out Ukraine.

The move was announced by Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in a statement carried by Russian news agencies Thursday. No further details were provided except that assistance to Crimea could be offered by some Russian provinces.

Following Western calls on the Kremlin to join efforts to help Ukraine avoid a default, Putin asked the government to talk to the International Monetary Fund and others about financial aid for Ukraine.

Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled Kiev after protests were triggered by his decision to spike a pact with the EU and forge closer ties with Moscow.