The gas deal with Moscow may help Kiev get out of economic crisis, a senior Russian diplomat said Saturday. When meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to slash the price of natural gas for the economically struggling neighbor. "This is an important aid to our fraternal country that will help it, probably, to boost economic rates and to come out of the crisis, toward which the Ukrainian economy has moved closer," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying at a public diplomacy event here. The two sides sealed 14 agreements on industrial cooperation, practical interaction in agriculture and space exploration, among others, said Karasin. Besides the gas deal, Russia also granted Ukraine a loan of 15 billion U.S. dollars. Putin said Thursday during his big annual press conference that Russia decided to provide Ukraine with loans and cut gas price as Moscow sees Kiev as "a brotherly nation" in difficult situation. Ukraine was due to sign a landmark political-economic deal with the European Union (EU) at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Lithuania last month, but suddenly put it on hold in a move widely seen as opting for closer trade ties with Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on Thursday reiterated his country's commitment to following the course of integration with the EU, attributing the current pause in its EU entry bid to pragmatic economic reasons.