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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine, Russia Near Debt Deal

KIEV -- Ukraine's top negotiator with Russia said Wednesday that Kiev was ready to give up its long-standing claims on former Soviet assets abroad and was close to sealing a tricky debt deal with Moscow.

"Our work on resolving the issue of Soviet debt is near completion and the prospect of finally resolving the issue has appeared," First Deputy Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk told the press.

Terms for the repayment of $80 billion of Soviet debt have been a chronic sore spot between Moscow and Kiev, with the latter reluctant to give up Ukrainian claims to a 16.37 percent share of Soviet property abroad.

All other former Soviet republics have waived claims to the assets in return for Russian agreement to take on responsibility for repaying all the debts in a so-called "zero option" deal.

Ukraine's reluctance to sign the deal also held up early debt negotiations between Russia and Western creditors before the latter decided to talk to Russia alone.