Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ukraine PM "Adamant" on Striking Deal with Creditors as Technical Default Looms

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ukraine PM "Adamant" on Striking Deal with Creditors as Technical Default Looms

Article excerpt

Ukraine scrambles for debt restructuring deal

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OTTAWA - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk delivered a warning Tuesday to private bond-holders that the government "will do everything" in order to ease its massive debt burden.

But at the same time he touted a newly minted free trade deal with Canada as a sign the country is open for business.

His remarks came at the end of a whirlwind visit to Ottawa and just ahead of a meeting Wednesday where Ukraine's finance minister will try to cajole private creditors into accepting a plan that would see a major writedown of the country's debt.

The meeting involving Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko is aimed at reaching a restructuring deal before a possible default.

The country's economy is battered by the war with Russian separatists in the east and the government in Kyiv has until July 24 to repay notes to bondholders totalling $120 million.

Yatsenyuk, in an interview with The Canadian Press, said Ukraine's offer, which would see the country repay over half the existing $10 billion debts held in private hands, is largely supported by the International Monetary Fund and G-7 ministers, including Canada's Joe Oliver.

"We are very adamant to strike a deal with the private creditors," Yatsenyuk said in the interview late Tuesday. "The private creditors need to realize they need to contribute and support the Ukrainian people."

He warned that the government "will do everything in order to lift this huge debt burden that was made under the Yanukovych regime."

Former president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country during a popular uprising in February 2014, borrowed heavily from private bond-holders and amassed nearly over $10 billion in debts.

Yatsenyuk argued the creditors knew what they were getting into.

"They were all aware they can easily go into arrears as they financed an entirely kleptocratic pro-Russian president," he said. …

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