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Russia suspends US$3b debt claim against Ukraine

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"We have given the new Ukrainian government an extension to assess the situation with a clear head, to reevaluate its position and open negotiations with Russia on its debt," Interfax news agency quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying.

[MOSCOW] Russia said Friday it had temporarily suspended its demand for full repayment of a disputed US$3-billion loan to Ukraine, saying it wanted to give the new government in Kiev time to "assess the situation".

"We have given the new Ukrainian government an extension to assess the situation with a clear head, to reevaluate its position and open negotiations with Russia on its debt," Interfax news agency quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying.

He added that the move followed "a request from Ukraine" and that it took current "political instability" into account.

Moscow sued Ukraine in February over the loan which was issued in 2013, weeks before the ousting of Moscow-backed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

The Russian government filed a lawsuit against Kiev in London after the two sides failed to reach a private settlement.

The eurobond was issued on the Irish Stock Exchange and is governed by English law.

Kiev had been due to repay the eurobond purchased by Moscow from Kiev on December 21.

But it viewed Russia's loan as private debt that fell under the restructuring terms it agreed with other commercial lenders last year.

That deal included a 20-per cent writeoff and extended some of the repayment terms until 2027, but Russia has refused to accept those terms, proposing simply to spread the repayment over three years.

Ukraine's parliament last week appointed pro-Western speaker Volodymyr Groysman as prime minister in a bid to end months of political gridlock and unlock vital aid to the war torn-state.

AFP