Russia continues to repay its Soviet-era debts

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Czech and Russian deputy finance ministers Ladislav Zelinka and Sergey Kolotuchin have held another round of talks on the settlement of Russia's outstanding debt towards the Czech Republic dating from the Soviet Union era. Both sides agreed on another payment of approximately 210 million USD which Russia should pay in the form of goods, such as special equipment for nuclear research, nuclear fuel, metal products, electricity, and military material.

The list of military equipment proposed by the Czech Army includes spare parts for old helicopters, MiG fighter jets, and anti-aircraft defence systems, then trucks, new Mi-35 helicopters, as well as two giant transport aircraft Antonov An-70. According to some sources, these could help solve one of the greatest weaknesses of the Czech army - insufficient transport capacity.

In October 2001, the Czech Republic sold two-thirds of the debt - 2.5 billion USD - to a private company, Falkon Capital, for slightly over 500 million USD, which is some 23 percent of the debts' face value. After this transaction, Russia owes the Czech Republic around 1.1 billion USD whose repayment will be spread over a longer period of time. Mr. Kolotuchin said the speed of the process depends on the economic development in Russia.