Russia Ready for Wider Ukraine Debt Talks If Offer Wins Backing

Russia is ready for broader talks on restructuring Ukraine’s $3 billion debt if its offer to change the payment terms is accepted by Dec. 8, according to Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

“We’re ready to hold wider consultations with Ukraine, the International Monetary Fund and other participants on this issue, and to discuss specific details of our proposal so they’re acceptable,” Siluanov told reporters in Moscow Wednesday. Ukraine has yet to receive Russia’s restructuring proposal, Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko was cited as saying by Interfax.

After months of refusal to negotiate with Ukraine over restructuring the Eurobond, sold by Ukraine’s ousted leader Viktor Yanukovych in 2013 and maturing in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed lifting the deadline and spreading payments over the next three years. The announcement, made at a Group of 20 summit in Turkey, followed Putin’s bilateral meetings there with U.S. and European leaders as well as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

Russia proposed letting Ukraine pay back $1 billion annually from 2016 to 2018 and asked for guarantees from the U.S., the European Union or a large bank, according to Siluanov. While Ukraine’s interest payments over the restructured debt are subject to negotiations, Russia expects it to make a $75 million coupon this year if the proposal is accepted, he said.

“Our proposal is quite acceptable and can be fulfilled within the current IMF program with Ukraine,” Siluanov said. “If it’s accepted, it won’t be necessary to change IMF rules on payments with official creditors.”

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