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MOSCOW, Dec 5- Ukraine's choice of closer ties with Moscow, spurning a trade pact with the EU, could rub its struggling steelmakers up against Russia's own beleaguered metals firms, who will resist Kiev's attempts to export its way out of trouble.
*Russia cracking down on tobacco consumption. MOSCOW/ LONDON, Dec 4- Philip Morris International Inc and Japan Tobacco Inc are buying 20 percent stakes in their Russian distributor Megapolis for $750 million each, strengthening their grip on the world's No.2 cigarette market by volume after China.
*Russia needs $300 billion in 2017-2020 to keep budget balanced. *Source says Reserve Fund could disappear within three years. MOSCOW, Dec 4- Russia will face huge fiscal shortfalls in the next two decades unless it cuts spending, and it could wipe out its oil savings in as little as three years, according to sources and a strategy document obtained by Reuters.
*Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco buy stakes for $750 mln each. MOSCOW, Dec 4- Philip Morris International Inc and Japan Tobacco Inc are buying 20 percent stakes for $750 million each in Russian distributor Megapolis, strengthening their grip on the world's No. 2 cigarette market after China.
KIEV, Dec 4- Ukraine's prime minister warned protesters trying to blockade government buildings on Wednesday they would be punished for any "illegal acts", as officials went to Moscow seeking aid to avoid a financial meltdown.
MOSCOW/ KIEV, Dec 4- Russia called on Wednesday for "stability and order" in neighbouring Ukraine as the two countries held their first high-level talks since Kiev pulled out of a trade alliance with the European Union.
MOSCOW, Dec 4- Ukraine has a "systemic" problem with bad loans but its interbank money market is functioning normally despite the political and financial upheaval of the past week, Russia's state development bank VEB said on Wednesday.
VIENNA/ MOSCOW, Dec 3- The political crisis in Ukraine, sparked by an East-West power struggle in which Moscow has gained the upper hand, is increasing the risk to the country's financial system and creating a particularly acute headache for Russian banks.
*Gazprom pipeline gas export monopoly to stay in place. MOSCOW, Dec 3- Russia's three new liquefied natural gas projects will find plenty of demand in a growing Asian market, without conflicting with Gazprom's monopoly on pipeline gas exports, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Reuters.
MOSCOW, Dec 3- Russia said on Tuesday that its oil- and gas-dependent economy will stagnate over the next two years, increasing the pressure on President Vladimir Putin to fulfil pledges to expand and diversify Russian industry.
KIEV, Dec 2- Ukrainian protesters blockaded the main government building on Monday, seeking to force President Viktor Yanukovich from office with a general strike after hundreds of thousands demonstrated against his decision to abandon an EU integration pact.
MOSCOW, Dec 2- Massive protests against Viktor Yanukovich hammered Ukraine's financial markets on Monday, increasing the risk of a currency crisis as the president tries to hold on until an election in early 2015..
MOSCOW, Dec 2- Massive protests against President Viktor Yanukovich have done yet more damage to Ukraine's already-poor investment case, increasing the risk of a currency crisis before an election in early 2015..
*Kiev's main thoroughfare closed to traffic. Yanukovich's decision to abandon a trade pact with the European Union and instead seek closer economic ties with Russia has stirred deep passions in a country where many people yearn to join the European mainstream and escape Moscow's orbit.
MOSCOW, Dec 2- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law amendments that will allow rivals of state-owned Gazprom to export liquefied natural gas, bolstering hopes for Russia to boost its share of the global LNG market. Gazprom's monopoly on pipeline gas exports, which are currently pumped only to Europe, stays untouched.
*Ukraine scorns EU but may not join Russia- led bloc. The Russian president sees his " Eurasian Union", in which Ukraine would play a central role, as a future rival to China, the United States and the European Union. Without Ukraine, he will lose all enthusiasm for it, "said Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin spin doctor who has also worked in Ukraine.
MOSCOW, Nov 26- The Kremlin extended its grip over radio and television broadcasting on Tuesday when the media arm of state-controlled Gazprom bought mining tycoon Vladimir Potanin's Profmedia.
BRUSSELS/ KIEV, Nov 25- The European Union expressed strong disapproval on Monday of Russian pressure on Ukraine to reject an EU trade deal, while police fired tear gas at pro- Europe protesters in the former Soviet republic, torn once more between East and West. Moscow has accused the European Union of putting the squeeze on Kiev, too.
BRUSSELS/ KIEV, Nov 25- The European Union expressed strong disapproval on Monday over Russia's pressure on Ukraine to reject an EU trade deal, while police fired tear gas at pro- Europe protesters in the former Soviet republic's capital, Kiev. At the same time, Moscow has accused the European Union of putting the squeeze on Kiev, too.
*Deal halts Iran nuclear advances, U.S. says. GENEVA, Nov 24- Iran and six world powers clinched a deal on Sunday curbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief, signalling the start of a game-changing rapprochement that would reduce the risk of a wider Middle East war.