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18 Mar, 2014 13:10

Moscow to demand $20 bn from Ukraine, if it brings back ‘zero option’

Moscow to demand $20 bn from Ukraine, if it brings back ‘zero option’

Moscow could ask Ukraine to immediately repay $20 billion in Soviet debt, if Kiev returns to a so-called “zero option” and in particular insists on getting back deposits in the former USSR Savings Bank worth an estimated $80 billion.

Under the “zero option”, Russia undertook to pay off all the external debt obligations of the USSR in exchange for the assets of the former member states.

“Ukraine took obligations to transfer, and the Russian Federation to accept the obligation for payment of Ukraine’s share of external public debt of the USSR as of December 1, 1994. At that time this share amounted to $6.8 billion. Now the sum is close to $20 billion,” says Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

If Ukraine returns to the issue of "zero option", Russia reserves the right to insist on immediate compensating by Ukraine of the $20 billion, the MFA said.

The MFA statement follows that of the Ukraine Minister of Justice Pavel Petrenko who said Kiev would make claims against Russia’s interference in the country’s integrity, and on the assets it used to possess as a part of the USSR, in the international courts.

"Ukraine will pursue the relevant statements in the International Court of Justice at the United Nations that the Russian Federation has encroached on our territorial integrity. Statements will also be featured on our claims over the property of the former USSR which belongs to Ukraine, as the former Soviet republic and the founder of this country,” Petrenko said.

“We are talking about real estate abroad which the Russian Federation received as alleged successor to the Soviet Union. This is the contributions of the former State Savings Bank, which Russia as of January 1, 1992 did not return to the balance of the Savings Bank of the Ukrainian SSR.'s, which isabout $ 80 billion, excluding indexation, " the Minister added.

Ukraine didn't sign a “zero option” by which Russia shall have all legal possession of this property, Petrenko insisted.

After the collapse of the USSR the calculation of the share of each successor was based on four indexes: share of the republics exports, share of imports, share of national income, and population of the USSR for 1986-1990.