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Sberbank CEO: Ukraine destroyed its reputation by moratorium on debt payment to Russia

December 25, 2015, 14:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia and local companies are in contrast demonstrating reliability to their partners, which adds to credit, German Gref points out

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Sberbank CEO German Gref

Sberbank CEO German Gref

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. Ukraine has destroyed its reputation for a long time by imposing moratorium on payment of its debt to the Russian Federation, Chief Executive Officer of Russia’s top lender Sberbank German Gref said in an interview aired by the Rossiya-24 TV news channel on Friday, adding that Russia and local companies are in contrast demonstrating reliability to their partners, which adds to credit.

"They [Russian companies’ foreign partners] are admired by the fact that despite all sanctions Russia continues to meet all its commitments," Gref said, adding that all companies, against which sanctions were adopted, repay their debts though technically they could request restructuring from their creditors due to restrictions imposed. "I think that in the long term this adds to our credit," CEO added.

On December 18, Ukraine’s Cabinet imposed moratorium on payment of $3 bln debt to the Russian Federation. Ukrainian government also imposed moratorium on the payment of $507 mln by 2 Ukrainian companies to Russian banks.

Ukraine's debt to Russia

In December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych reached an agreement that Moscow would extend a $15 billion loan to Kiev through placing Ukrainian securities. Under the deal, $3 billion worth of bonds were listed on the Irish Stock Exchange on December 20, 2013 and acquired by Russia using the funds from its National Welfare Fund.

Later on, Ukraine tried to challenge the loan’s status and reduce it to that of commercial credits subject to restructuring. Russia objected to this approach.

In November 2015, Putin said Russia was ready to restructure Ukraine’s debt in case the United States, the European Union or any big international financial institute gave its guarantees to Russia. No guarantees were granted.

On December 17, the International Monetary Fund’s board recognized the official status of Russia’s $3 billion loan to Ukraine.

On December 21, Ukraine failed to make a payment on the Russian loan of $3 bln. The deadline for redemption of bonds worth $3 bln was on Sunday, December 20, 2015, which means that the corresponding payment was due to be made on the following working day, i.e. December 21, 2015. In formal terms, default on bonded obligations will be announced if Ukraine fails to make a corresponding payment within the so-called grace period, which expires on December 31, 2015. The Russian finance ministry expects Ukraine to fulfil its debt liabilities completely by that date.

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