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Business

Russia proposes Ukraine debt restructuring

On the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Turkey, Russia has made a proposal to the International Monetary Fund on Ukraine's debt to Moscow. The IMF welcomed the Kremlin's move, calling it "a positive step."

In a surprise announcement at the G20 summit in Turkey on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was willing to restructure the $3-billion (2.8-billion-euro) debt owed to Moscow by Ukraine.

Putin said that rather than seeking full debt repayment this year, Russia would consider receiving installments of $1 billion a year between 2016 and 2018.

"We're ready not to receive any money this year," Putin said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund welcomed Russia's offer. "The proposal made by the Russian authorities regarding debt restructuring for Ukraine is a positive step," the global lender commented, adding that the details would now have to be debated between Moscow and Kyiv.

Breaking the deadlock

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Support for Ukraine's economy

Originally, Moscow had insisted that Ukraine repay by December the $3 billion it issued to former President Viktor Yanukovich ahead of pro-European protests that led to his ouster in February 2014.

The Russian authorities' proposal was widely viewed as a crucial step towards more stability in Ukraine as

fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists

in eastern Ukraine died down.

The debt restructuring dispute had been hampering the IMF's $17.5-billion rescue plan for Ukraine which restricted Kyiv's ability to renegotiate billions of dollars in debt.

hg/nz (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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