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WASHINGTON, June 23. /TASS/. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has formed a preliminary view that Ukraine’s $3 billion bonds sold to Russia should be treated as official rather than private debt, news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Treating the $3 billion bonds as official debt would exclude them from the bond restructuring Ukraine is negotiating with a creditor group led by Franklin Templeton, placing a greater burden on private bondholders, Bloomberg said.
At the same time, this status of the bonds still has to be approved by the IMF’s executive board.
Russia has repeatedly said the bonds it purchased from Ukraine should be treated as official aid and repaid in full when they mature in December while Ukraine argues the debt was structured as Eurobonds under UK law and is subject to the same treatment as private creditors, Bloomberg reported.
Ukraine transferred $75 million to Russia on June 22 as coupon payment on its $3 billion Eurobond. Kiev has said on many occasions it considers Russia’s loan as commercial debt and insists on its restructuring.
Ukraine currently has to restructure debts worth $15 billion, including $3 billion owed to Russia.
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.
Russia made a decision in late 2013 to invest up to $15 billion in Ukraine’s sovereign Eurobonds. Soon afterwards, Russia bought Ukraine’s first Eurobond tranche worth $3 billion with a two-year maturity and a coupon rate of 5% per annum and coupon payments every six months.
Russia subsequently decided against investing the other $12 billion in Ukraine’s bonds.