Russia may demand early payment of $4b loan to Ukraine: Minister

MOSCOW - Moscow may ask for early payment on its three billion dollar (S$4 billion) loan to Ukraine, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Saturday, accusing Kiev of violating loan conditions.

"Ukraine has violated the conditions of this loan, specifically that Ukraine's public debt does not surpass 60 percent of its GDP," the minister told Russian news agencies.

"Russia has all the grounds for demanding an early repayment of this loan," he said, while adding that "the decision has not been taken yet." He said Kiev has not kept up with its obligations for the loan, which must be repaid by December.

"It is astonishing that Ukraine's budget does not include the repayment of these three billion dollars," he added.

Russia had agreed to provide a massive $15 billion bailout loan to Ukraine in December 2013, before its ex-president Viktor Yanukovych was toppled. It then froze the loan after the first $3 billion instalment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with German channel ARD in December that Russia has the right to demand early repayment, but added that Moscow would refrain from this course of action.

"If we do this, the entire financial system will collapse," he said. "We have made a decision: we will not do this. We don't want to worsen the situation. We want Ukraine to finally be steady on its feet."