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Russia ready for talks with Ukraine on debt — finance minister

January 22, 18:20 UTC+3
The Russian Finance Ministry expects to recover full amount of Ukraine’s debt of $3 billion and legal expenses
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Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. Russia is ready for talks with Ukraine on the debt, it has not happened yet because of Kiev’s refusal to compromise, Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told journalists Friday.

"Russia remains open to conscientious negotiations with Ukraine, but such talks have not yet been started due to the uncompromising position of Ukraine," the minister said.

The Russian Finance Ministry expects to recover full amount of Ukraine’s debt of $3 billion and legal expenses.

"We started the preparatory work for submitting the claim. We are confident that will be able to recover the entire amount of the debt on eurobonds, as well as legal expenses," minister Siluanov said.

According to the minister, Moscow hopes Kiev will recognize the official status of debt to Russia and expects better conditions than Ukraine had given to private creditors earlier.

"The Russian Finance Ministry confirms its full commitment to negotiate with the debtor. The success of these negotiations depends on the Ukrainian side being ready to recognize the official status of the debt and to offer better conditions than to commercial creditors earlier," Anton Siluanov said.

Germany’s Finance Ministry acts as intermediary in organizing debt talks with Ukraine

Germany’s Ministry of Finance acted as an informal intermediary in arranging debt negotiations with Ukraine but their start has not yet been agreed, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said on Friday.

"An informal exchange of opinions concerning the possibility of such talks took place with mediation of the Germany’s Finance Ministry. However, negotiations start has not yet been agreed in view of the hardline position of Ukraine expressed in lack of desire to recognize the official debt status and offer conditions better than those offered to private lenders," Storchak said.

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 bought by Russia from its National Welfare Fund.

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 IMF board recognized the official status of Russia’s loan to Ukraine.

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