THE Kiev government will stick to unpopular austerity measures "as the price of independence" as Russia steps up pressure on Ukraine to destabilise it, including by raising the price of gas, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk has insisted.

Mr Yatseniuk, 39, who stepped in as interim prime minister last month after Viktor Yanukovich and his ministers fled, conceded it would be very difficult "under the current Russian presence" to undo what he described as Russia's "international crime" in seizing Crimea.

But he said Ukraine would never recognise the Russian takeover in exchange for re-establishing good relations.

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He has called himself the leader of a "kamikaze" government, doomed by unpopular austerity measures it must take but said Ukraine would stick to the measures which include doubling gas prices for domestic consumers.