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KIEV, July 16. /TASS/. Ukraine and creditors committee "have reached progress" on the issue of restructuring Kiev’s foreign debt at talks in Washington on July 15, the Ukrainian Finance Ministry’s press service said on Thursday.
"At a meeting in Washington, further progress was reached on several important issues. After the meeting, the sides agreed to focus on bridging their differences," the press service said.
More meetings of negotiators are planned next week with the aim to "finalize the conditions of Ukraine’s debt operation as soon as possible," the Finance Ministry added.
Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said earlier Russia expected Ukraine to pay $75 million on its Eurobonds on June 22 and would regard any failure to make the payment as "a default event." However, Ukraine made this payment on schedule.
The Ukrainian financial authorities have stated on many occasions they consider Kiev’s debt to Russia as commercial liabilities and insist on debt restructuring.
However, Russia considers this debt as Kiev’s state liabilities and demands its full repayment in December 2015.
Ukraine currently has to restructure debts worth about $15 billion, of which $3 billion is its debt to Russia.
The International Monetary Fund 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 late in June, 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’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.