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European Bank Rejects Russian Request To Lift Ban On New Loans

Russian Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin
Russian Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on May 10 rejected Russia's request to lift a ban on new loans, prompting Moscow to say it will look to banks led by China for funding.

President Suma Chakrabarti said the European bank's decision in 2014 to suspend new loans to Russia as part of a series of Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's annexation of Crimea was "final and binding," and the bank's management has not discussed conditions for the resumption of investment in Russia.

Bank officials said only four of the bank's 65 board members at a meeting in Cyprus supported Russia's bid to resume lending: Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Mongolia. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan abstained.

Russian Economy Minister Maksim Oreshkin said the European "bank has become an instrument of foreign policy, not a development institution." It was established in 1991 to help former Soviet states and Eastern Europe move toward market economies.

Oreshkin said that Russia, previously the largest recipient of aid from the bank, will not participate in its recapitalization when that becomes necessary.

Russia in the future will focus on getting funding from "depoliticized" banks, such as the Asian Infrastructure bank and the BRICS Bank, both dominated by China, Oreshkin said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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