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    Kremlin stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin and CEO of the International Monetary Fund, Cristine Lagarde, discussed in a phone call on Monday Russia's efforts to help Kiev overcome a deep financial and economic crisis in Ukraine.

    MOSCOW, December 29 (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and CEO of the International Monetary Fund, Cristine Lagarde, discussed in a phone call on Monday Russia's efforts to help Kiev overcome a deep financial and economic crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

    "Vladimir Putin informed [Lagarde] about steps taken by Russia to assist the Ukrainian economy through energy supplies on favorable conditions and in the banking sphere," the Kremlin press-service said in a statement.

    Putin also expressed hope that the IMF would continue to help the country's cash-strapped economy.

    Ukraine has been struggling to find a way out of a monetary crisis that has left the country's economy in difficulty. To help restore the economy, authorities in Kiev have sought financial assistance from international financial institutions.

    In spring, the IMF promised Ukraine a total of $17 billion in bailout loans, to be provided over the course of two years. So far, Ukraine has received two tranches, amounting to $4.55 billion.

    A source privy to the financial aid talks with Ukraine told RIA Novosti earlier that the IMF was planning to ask Moscow to permit Kiev to defer its Eurobond repayments to Russia. The bonds, amounting to $3 billion, mature in 2015 but Moscow may be convinced to wait for repayment at least until the end of the bailout program. Otherwise, the source said, international lenders may remove the financial lifeline from Ukraine.

    On Sunday, Ukraine's energy ministry also said it was ready to hastily sign an agreement with Moscow for the supply of electricity at Russian domestic prices that are lower than those in Ukraine. Moscow has agreed to resume shipping coal and cheap electricity to Ukraine, which has been suffering from energy shortages due to its unsettled gas debt to Russia and a military operation in its coal-rich east.


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