TOKYO, December 8. /TASS/. Kiev government may refuse to repay a debt of $3 billion to Russia that matures on December 21, Ukraine's Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said in an interview published by the Nikkei business daily on Tuesday.
When a correspondent asked her about a possibility of refusal to pay, she said the Kiev authorities were getting ready for a variety of options.
She spoke in critical terms about Russia proposals to repay the debt against Western guarantees, claiming this ran counter to the criteria of the International Monetary Fund for giving aid to Ukraine.
Jaresko also claimed the authorities were feeling strong pressure from the rank-and-file people who were objecting to repayment of the monies to Russia.
Another claim she made was that Ukraine would increase its GDP by 2% next year compared with this year when its fall is expected to total 9%
President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine reached agreement in December 2013 on Moscow's loan of $ 15 billion to Kiev through the floating of Ukraine's bonds. As part of the programme, the bonds worth $ 3 billion were placed on the Irish Stock Exchange on December 20, 2013, and bought up by Russia.
Moscow allocated monies from the National Affluence Fund for the purpose.
Ukraine made the last coupon payments in June 2015. Now Russia expects a full repayment of the loan.
President Vladimir Putin said at the G20 summit in Turkey Moscow had offered repayment by installments of $1 billion a year in the years 2016 to 2018.
"Since our partners are confident the creditworthiness of the Ukrainian state will be growing and we don't have any grounds for doubts over getting we'll get $ 3 billion already next year, our partners shouldn't have any fears about issuing guarantees in connection with the loan," he said.
Putin added Russia had asked for guarantees from the US or the EU or an international financial institute.