Russia criticized the decision of the International Monetary Fund to change its lending rules to support Ukraine if it fails to repay a $3 billion debt to Russia
“The IMF’s Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors,” chief spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to Reuters.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov criticized the decision of the IMF.
Ukraine is restructuring its debts to plug a $15 billion funding gap under an IMF-led $40 billion bailout. Defaulting on the Eurobond, which matures on Dec. 20, could have put the program at risk.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the decision looked rushed and biased.
“It’s taken exclusively to the detriment of Russia and in order to legalize Kiev not repaying its debts,” he told reporters in Moscow.
Russia refused to allow the Eurobond to be included in Ukraine’s recent debt restructuring, arguing that it was made as an “official sector” bilateral loan rather than being a standard bond.
In November during the G20 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to postpone the payment of Ukraine’s debt for 2016-2018 years, $ 1 billion a year.
“Because our partners are confident that the creditability of the Ukrainian state will grow, and we have no reason to doubt that we will get even three billion in the next year, there is no fear of our partners to make a guarantee on the loan,” – said Putin.
The two-year Eurobond was taken out by the government of Moscow-backed ex-president Viktor Yanukovich just two months before he fled to Russia in the face of street protests over his policy swerve away from deeper integration into the European mainstream.
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev accused the IMF of meddling and said the Fund’s decision had no legal basis but had been taken for political reasons. He said he doubted Ukraine would redeem the note.
“I have the sense that they won’t pay it back because they are crooks,” Medvedev said in an interview on state television. “And our Western partners not only don’t help but also interfere.”
Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko called the IMF’s decision “historic”.
“It allows us to understand that if we are included in this policy and we unfortunately are not able to restructure the so-called Russian Eurobond, then the doors to IMF loan financing will not be closed to us,” she told journalists.