Russia Against Negotiating With Ukraine Over U.S.S.R. Debt

MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia is against negotiating with Ukraine over the debts and assets of the former Soviet Union, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Mikhail Kamynin

Spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said, "Russia does not intend to hold any negotiations. We consider this issue settled."

Kamynin's statement comes in response to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's proposal to resume negotiations on the foreign property of the former Soviet Union.

The official backed his argument citing the 1994 "zero option" agreement between Russia and former Soviet republics, which stipulates that Russia was to inherit Soviet assets abroad and the debts of former Soviet republics.

"When the Ukrainian prime minister at that time signed the agreement, Ukraine had all of the information about the size of the debts and assets of the [former] Soviet Union," Kamynin said.

Although the agreement has been signed, it has not come into force because Ukraine, the only ex-Soviet republic to do so, failed to fulfill all the necessary internal obligations, including ratifying the document in parliament.

Russia, however, assumed all the foreign debt liabilities of the former Soviet Union.

The spokesman said Russia had been repaying the U.S.S.R.'s foreign debt, including the Ukrainian share, for 15 years but could not fully use the foreign assets of the Soviet Union because of Ukraine's position.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vasiliy Filipchuk said Tuesday the problem was stalled because Russia refused to offer complete information on the issue.

"We believe that the issue can only be resolved when Russia provides full and unbiased information about the debts and assets of the former Soviet Union," Filipchuk said.

Kamynin, however, said no such obligation was included in the agreement.

"The agreement lays down no other commitments or any additional information sharing," Kamynin said.

Source: RIA Novosti