Russian President Vladimir Putin softened demands for immediate payment by Ukraine of a $3 billion bond, for the first time agreeing to a restructuring of the debt.
At the G-20 summit meeting in Antalya, Turkey, where world leaders focused on cooperating to fight Islamic extremism, Putin referred to $1 billion installments of the debt. Russia previously demanded the entire $3 billion paid by December 20.
“We made an unexpected offer to our partners. We have not just agreed to restructure the Ukrainian debt, we have offered better conditions than the International Monetary Fund was asking of us. We were asked to postpone the payment for the next year in the amount of three billion. I said that we were ready for a deeper restructuring. We are ready not to receive any money this year, one billion next year, another one billion in 2017 and 2018,” Putin told the Russian news agency Tass.
Ukraine has long insisted the $3 billion loan was a commercial debt, and subject to restructuring and discounts: Russia has called it a state debt and demanded full payment on schedule.
Putin’s announcement was one of several signals of a warming in international relations at the summit level since the attacks in Paris last Friday. On Sunday, Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama met for the first time since Putin surprised the Obama administration in September by sending warplanes to defend the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.