MOSCOW, March 17, /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow will reserve the right to demand the immediate payment by Kiev of the 20 billion U.S. dollar Soviet debt if Ukraine decides to bring back the “zero option” issue, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, March 17.
“After that we would be prepared to consider the possibility of conducting talks with Ukraine on other aspects of the ‘zero option’,” it said.
Russia was “surprised by the so-called instructions” issued by parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk to acting Foreign Minister Andrei Deshchitsa with regard to the allegedly unsettled issue of Soviet foreign debts and assets, the ministry said.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry’s note to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry of March 31, 2005 said that under the agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the settlement of the matters of legal succession with regard to the foreign state debt and assets of the former Soviet Union of December 9, 1994 (the so-called ‘zero option’ agreement), Ukraine pledged to transfer and the Russian Federation pledged to assume obligations to pay Ukraine’s share in the foreign state debt of the former Soviet Union as of December 1, 1994. At that time, this share was 6.8 billion U.S. dollars. Now it is coming close to 20 billion U.S. dollars,” the ministry said.