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    Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives on day two of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 16, 2015 in Antalya. Putin said on November 16 that the attacks in Paris showed the need for his proposal for an international anti-terror coalition to be realised

    A Presidential Pardon: Putin Offers to Restructure Debt Owed by Ukraine

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    During the November 15-16 G20 Summit in Turkey, President Putin proposed to restructure the $3 billion in debt owed by Ukraine and team up with the West to create a joint anti-terrorist coalition.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During the November 15-16 G20 Summit in Turkey, which took place as the world continued to take stock of the deadly terror attacks in Paris and Beirut, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an unexpected announcement that Moscow is planning to restructure $3 billion in debt Ukraine owes Russia for natural gas deliveries. He also proposed, as could be expected, to create a joint anti-terrorist coalition alongside the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

    The debt restructuring proposal, as it was later explained by Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, is not linked to any deal which would require the easing of Western anti-Russia sanctions.

    However, Putin said that if Western partners believe that the time has come to rethink relations with Moscow, Russia is ready for this.


    The most surprising news at the final press conference after the G20 summit became Russia's considering the possibility to restructure Ukraine's $3-billion debt, allowing to repay one billion annually in 2016-2018, conditional to the US or European guarantees on the loan.

    "Lest we should put Ukraine in a difficult situation, we have made, in my opinion, an unexpected offer to our partners. We have not just agreed to restructure the Ukrainian debt, but we have offered better conditions than required by the International Monetary Fund. We were asked to postpone the payment for the next year, to which I said that we are ready for deeper restructuring, " Putin said.

    Putin said that 2015 Russia is "ready" to receive no repayment from Ukraine, while in 2016-208 a billion is expected to be repaid annually.

    According to him, Russia asked for loan guarantees "from either the US government or the European Union, or from one of the reliable international financial institutions."

    The Russian President expressed hope that the issue will be resolved by December.

    Putin said that he had discussed the Ukrainian debt with IMF head Christine Lagarde on the G20 sidelines, and the proposal of the Russian side was "received with interest."

    "We have agreed with our partners that in the near future we will the details of our proposals. Indeed, if our partners assure us that the solvency of Ukraine is to increase, it means they do believe in it, and if they do, let them provide guarantees," Putin said.

    Later, Sergei Storchak said that Moscow's proposal to restructure the debt of Ukraine is not linked to the possibility of easing Western sanctions against Russia.

    "There is no connection, I do not see it here," he told reporters, answering the question whether such a link could exist.


    Last year, Russia's relations with the West deteriorated significantly over Ukraine crisis. The European Union, alongside the United States and a number of other nations, accused Russia of interfering with Ukraine's internal affairs, and, as a punitive measure, imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow. The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations.

    During the G20, Putin recalled that Russia is always ready for dialogue with the Western partners, and if they believe that now is the time for changing the relations, Moscow would welcome it.

    "We have never given up on good relations with our partners, both in the East and the West, and those unilateral measures restricting our cooperation in various areas, have not been initiated by us…. If our partners now believe that the time has come once to change our relations, we will welcome it, we have never refused to work together, and the doors are not closed," Putin said at a press conference.

    Putin said that no problems in cooperation with the G20 leaders was registered during the summit, although a little "tension" could be felt.

    "The fact that I left earlier — I can say, it's no secret — I did it for technical reasons," Putin said.

    He explained that the flight to Moscow took him about 14 hours. "I just needed to get on the plane first. I know how the services schedule the flights, I would have to wait for three hours, so I left early. There were no problems, then or now, though, of course, the relationship was more strenuous than today," the Russian leader said.


    According to the Russian President, there was a separately standing burning topic at the G20 summit, which is the creation of a united anti-terrorist coalition in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIL) militant group.

    Putin said that is not the time to find out who is more or less effective in the fight against terrorism, it is necessary to unite efforts.

    The Russian president said that the creation of the united anti-terrorist coalition is not only possible, but necessary. According to him, the awareness of the need for a joint struggle against terrorism comes both at the political level and at the level of security services.

    Putin stressed that the devastating attacks in Paris only confirmed this need.

    "There is nothing complicated here. It is necessary to manage specific work to prevent terrorist acts, to prevent the fight against terrorism on a global scale, " the president said.

    On September 30, Russian attack aircraft commenced precision airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria, following a request from President Bashar Assad.

    The US-led coalition and Russia are currently carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorists in Syria. The United States has been critical of Russian efforts, arguing that Moscow’s actions empower the Assad government, which Washington considers illegitimate.

    "… Life, it goes very fast, and often teaches us lessons, and I think that now comes the realization that only together we will fight efficiently. We believe that this cooperation can be established both at the political level and at the level of the security services, which should actively exchange information and help each other, and notify each other of danger," Putin said.

    In addition, he said that Russia needs the support of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran in the fight against ISIL, to make the victory over terrorism irreversible.

    Putin said that Russia and Turkey might find common ground on Syria, as Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan spoke about the need for a political solution in the war-torn country.

    Putin underscored that hardly anyone at the G20 summit criticized the Russian air campaign in Syria.


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