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Ukraine receives US$3 bil. in initial Russian bailout

KIEV -- Ukraine on Tuesday received US$3.0 billion in the first tranche of a financial rescue plan from Russia that has been denounced by the pro-European opposition, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said.

“The National Bank of Ukraine has received the first tranche on its account. It is a stabilising factor for us,” he said during talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow, the Ukrainian government website quoted him as saying.

During a visit by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to Moscow a week ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to provide the financial assistance to Ukraine, which is in recession and according to analysts was on the verge of default.

Moscow will buy US$15 billion of Ukrainian bonds, including US$3 billion by the end of the year, and also knock one third off the price of Russian natural gas exports to Ukraine.

“Thanks to the reached agreements, our ratings went up. We came out of the zone which we were in,” Azarov told Medvedev. Ukraine's debt is currently rated deep into junk status by the major agencies.

Medvedev confirmed for his part that Russia had now acquired US$3 billion of Ukraine government bonds.

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