A senior Russian cabinet member says his government won't protect Russian depositors who are losing money in Cyprus but may offer assistance to some Russian state companies.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said in televised remarks that it would be a "great pity" if Russians lose their money in Cyprus, but added that the cabinet won't take any action to soften the blow.

He added, however, that while his government sees no reason for offering any assistance to Cyprus, it may take unspecified action to help reduce the damage for Russian state companies.

Big depositors at Cyprus's largest bank, including some Russians, may be forced to accept losses of up to 60 per cent, far more than initially estimated under the European rescue package to save the country from bankruptcy.

Also a spokesman for the Cypriot government says the country has been granted an extra year — until 2017 — to achieve a targeted budget surplus of four per cent as part of negotiations with international lenders for a rescue package.

Christos Stylianides said Monday that government negotiators are still looking to extend that by a further year. Under a preliminary agreement with Cyprus's euro area partners and the IMF, Cyprus had until 2016 to generate the budget surplus target through a raft of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Stylianides also said that negotiators will seek to give businesses access to 40 per cent of their deposits over 100,000 euros in Cyprus's largest lender that are now frozen under a bank restructuring agreement in order to get the country's moribund economy going again.

With files from CBC News