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Ukraine seeks its $15 bln external debt restructuring

March 18, 2015, 13:36 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Kiev is also ready for debt restructuring talks with Russia

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© Stepan Petrenko/TASS

WASHINGTON, March 18. /TASS/. Ukraine needs to restructure $15.3 billion of its external debt, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said.

Ukraine’s finance minister said she was confident Kiev was able to agree with creditors as part of the anti-crisis program the country was implementing with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"I’m confident that this can be done and we can find common ground," Jaresko said on Tuesday in reply to a TASS’ question at an event held at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Kiev is also ready for debt restructuring talks with Russia, the Ukrainian finance minister said.

"We’ll have a non-discriminatory approach," she said, adding she perceived Russia as a sovereign creditor but could not answer the question about whether she was ready to turn to the Paris Club of creditor nations for debt rescheduling.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier confirmed Ukraine had requested Russia to restructure its debt but said Moscow was not ready for this step.

"Russia is not ready to agree to debt postponement and repayment by installments," Siluanov said.

Ukraine’s external debt hit $72.9 billion as of late 2014 while its internal debt stood at $29 billion and its gold and foreign currency reserves were less than $10 billion.

Ukraine has to repay $11 billion in 2015 while its balance of payments deficit amounts to $13 billion.

Ukraine’s international reserves shrank by 12.4% as of March 1, 2015 to $5.625 billion, according to data of the National Bank of Ukraine. Former Ukrainian First Vice-Premier Sergey Arbuzov wrote on his Facebook page on March 10 that Ukraine "is coming close to the zero level of net international reserves, i.e. the indicator adjusted for the debt to the IMF."

The West has opened five financial assistance programs for Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Central Bank and Finance Ministry. They comprise the EU’s long-term MFA1 and MFA2 macro-finance programs, the IMF’s short-term stand-by loan facility, and also the World Bank’s programs for the development of Ukraine’s electric power sector.

Funds under these programs have been divided into 9 tranches, with $5.128 billion and €1.36 billion already replenishing Ukraine’s state coffers. Kiev expects a new €260 million tranche in April.

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