Ukraine rules out debt default: top Zelensky aide

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Kiev (AFP)

Ukraine has ruled out rejecting the International Monetary Fund?s bailout programme and defaulting on its external debt, a top official said Tuesday.

"We have agreed that we will actively cooperate with the IMF," Oleksandr Danylyuk, a top aide of Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelensky, told reporters after a meeting with an IMF mission.

"Our cooperation continues. This is an important message for investors, for whom our cooperation with the IMF is an important indicator," he added.

Ukraine is dependent on foreign financial assistance and last week an IMF team arrived in Kiev to review progress on implementing previously agreed reform measures.

Zelensky, who was a comedian before being elected as leader last month, has indicated his intention to find ways to further cooperate with the IMF.

But concerns were sparked after Igor Kolomoisky, an influential oligarch with links to Zelensky, suggested on Sunday that Kiev should reject the IMF's austerity programme.

Danylyuk, a respected economist and former finance minister who was appointed as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council on Tuesday, shrugged off the idea.

"Such solutions are not even considered," he told reporters, referring to the possibility of default.

"I do not think the president is listening to such advice now," Danylyuk added.

In December, the IMF board approved a new loan package for Ukraine and released a first tranche worth $1.4 billion.

But, according to the Eurasia Group think-tank, the IMF is unlikely to finalise any new agreement until it knows who will lead the new government.