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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: Cyprus Bailout Deal Is Tantamount To Theft

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gestures while speaking at a conference on Russia-EU cooperation in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 21, 2013. The EU and Russia are having one of their biggest spats in recent times over the future of the Cypriot economy. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze) | AP

MOSCOW -- A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the president has asked the government to restructure a 2.5 billion euro ($3.2 billion) loan to Cyprus.

Moscow has been worried about the crisis in Cyprus as Russian citizens hold as much as 20 billion euros ($26 billion) in Cypriot banks.

Russian news agencies on Monday quoted Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying that the president has instructed the government to work out the terms for restructuring the loan which was made 2011.

Cyprus' finance minister spent most of the past week in Moscow, trying to reach a deal before talks failed on Friday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Russia's prime minister has slammed a deal that saves Cyprus from bankruptcy but forces big losses on many bank deposits, a large chunk of which are held by Russians.

Cyprus secured a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) bailout early Monday on the condition it scales back its banking sector and forces hefty losses on a number of big deposits to help pay much of the bill.

Dmitry Medvedev says the move is tantamount to theft.

Moscow has been worried about the crisis in Cyprus with Russian citizens holding as much as 20 billion euros ($26 billion) in Cypriot banks.

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