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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Russia’s position on Ukraine’s debt is unchanged, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, adding that non-payment will mean the country’s default and will be followed by a legal action.
"There are no changes regarding Russia’s position," Peskov said. "This is a sovereign debt, which is due to be repaid. Non-payment will mean a default situation and a court action," he added.
Kremlin spokesman did not specify the degree of readiness of the court action against Ukraine though he said "everything that needs to be prepared will be prepared." He did not say whether there are any contacts with Kiev regarding the issue through the Finance Ministry either.
On Tuesday Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko said that Kiev is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the Russian side regarding the $3 bln debt issue through German mediators. "We contact them (the Russian side) through German partners every day. As you know in Peru I met them through the intermediary of the German finance minister. And they (the German side) are helping us as mediators," Yaresko said.
However, she said that Ukraine had not changed its position regarding the bonds, adding that the government had not yet received any offer on restructuring of Eurobonds acquired by Russia.
In December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich reached agreement on Moscow's loan of $15 billion to be granted to Kiev through Ukraine's bonds floating. As part of the program, the bonds worth $3 billion were placed on the Irish Stock Exchange on December 20, 2013, and bought up by Russia using the finances of the National Wealth Fund.
In mid-November President Putin said Moscow was ready to restructure Ukraine’s debt in case the United States, the European Union or any big international institution issued security for this debt. No such guarantees have been issued. In the meantime, the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on December 8 lifted a ban on crediting countries with overdue sovereign debts. According to Russia’s Finance Ministry, it means that the IMF will continue its anti-crisis program for Ukraine even if Kiev falls into default with repayment of Russian debts.
The deadline for repayment of the Ukrainian debt is December 20. In the event it fails to do so, Russia will go to law ten days after that date.