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Ukraine Needs to Restructure Debt to Avoid Economic Collapse - US Treasury

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Ukraine must restructure its debt as international assistance helps keep the economy afloat, US Treasury Department Secretary for International Affairs Nathan Sheets wrote in an for CNBC on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Ukraine has so far received nearly $40 billion in international assistance.

“Ukraine has initiated difficult and urgently needed steps” to reform the economy and improve governance, Sheets wrote. “To sustain this recovery, Ukraine also needs to restructure its government debt.”

Sheets also argued international assistance must be maintained to keep the economy and reforms moving.

“Sustained assistance from Ukraine's international partners remains critical.”

Sheets also appealed to creditors to conclude quickly a deal with Kiev in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) criteria.

“We urge these creditors to move swiftly in the coming weeks to reach an agreement with the Ukrainian authorities that satisfies the three criteria outlined in Ukraine's IMF program — including the debt-sustainability targets.”

Among the other key issues Ukraine must address, Sheets continued, are systemic corruption and entrenched interests.

“While entrenched interests in Ukraine — often masked as populist benefactors of the people — continue to push against this transformation, the ethos of reform has begun to permeate Ukraine's government and society.”

For the movement to fully take root, he concluded, Ukraine's top leaders foremost must show continued courage and willingness to tackle corruption.

Ukraine’s economy has expeerienced severe strains since protestors overthrew former president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. The move prompting a civil war between pro-independence supporters in eastern Ukraine and the new government in Kiev.

International credit rating agencies have downgraded Ukrainian debt on several occasions as the risk of default remains high without international aid.

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