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Ukraine Finance Minister Says Deal With Russia Over $3 Billion Debt Still Possible

Ukraine's finance minister says there is still a chance to avoid a court battle with Russia over $3 billion of debt that Kyiv defaulted on in December.

U.S.-born Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko spoke to Bloomberg News on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Jaresko said Ukrainian and Russian Finance Ministry officials may meet "in the near future" to discuss the issue, Bloomberg reported on January 23.

She said she thinks "it’s still very possible to reach a consensual agreement out of court with Russia."

Russia bought a $3 billion Ukrainian bond late in 2013 as part of an aid package widely seen as a reward for then-President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to scrap plans for a landmark deal with the European Union and tighten ties with Russia instead.

But Yanukovych was pushed from power in February 2014 by huge protests over that decision. The debt became a bone of contention after Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula and supported separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s Finance Ministry said on January 1 that it had taken measures to start legal proceedings over the debt.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg and Interfax