Putin approves $1.5 bn loan for Belarus ‘in this challenging situation’

Russia will extend a loan of $ 1.5 billion to Belarus, Vladimir Putin stated in the wake of Monday’s meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Sochi.

“We have agreed that Russia will provide a state credit [amounting to] $1.5 bln to Belarus in this challenging situation, and we will do it. As far as I know our finance ministers are addressing that issue at the professional level,” news agency TASS quotes Putin.

During the talks, Putin confirmed Russia’s readiness to fulfill all its obligations toward Belarus within the framework of the CSTO and the Union State. At the same time, the Russian president expects that information about the Russian loan to Belarus will have a positive effect on the financial markets. According to the Russian Finance Ministry, as of July 2020, the external debt of Belarus reached $18 bn. In addition, the Belarusian authorities keep negotiating with Russia on refinancing the republic’s state debt.

Lukashenka eager to change Constitution of Belarus

The Russian leader also recommended Minsk start to work on amending the Constitution.

“I think it is logical, timely and appropriate,” Putin stressed.

In turn, Lukashenka blasted ‘those are meddling in Belarus’ affairs’ and said that recent events in Belarus were indicative of the necessity to stay closer to Russia, especially in the sector of economy.

The talks between the two leaders in Sochi were reportedly held in a one-on-one format. This is the first foreign visit of Alyaksandr Lukashenka after this year’s presidential elections. No signing of documents was planned, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week.

Without signing documents: Lukashenka, Putin to hold talks in Moscow