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KIEV, March 17, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine will prepare claims against Russia with regard to deposits in the former state-owned Soviet savings bank estimated at about 80 billion U.S. dollars, Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said on Monday, March 17.
“These are currency values, which the Russian Federation inherited from the Soviet Union, and deposits in the former State Savings Bank, which the Russian Federation basically had not returned to the State Savings Bank of Ukraine as of January 1, 1992. That’s about 80 billion U.S. dollars without adjustment,” he said.
Ukraine will also seek to get hold of real estate abroad, which currently hosts diplomatic missions, as well as aircraft and ships that were in the ownership of the Soviet Union, and other assets.
Responding to this statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would reserve the right to demand the immediate payment by Kiev of the 20 billion U.S. dollar Soviet debt if Ukraine decided to bring back the “zero option” issue.
“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.