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Moldova's Pro-Moscow President Says Suspension Of Russian Loan Risks Economic Crisis

Moldovan President Igor Dodon (file photo)
Moldovan President Igor Dodon (file photo)

Moldovan President Igor Dodon has accused the opposition of triggering an economic crisis during the coronavirus pandemic by blocking a 200 million-euro ($215 million) loan agreement with Russia.

The agreement was ratified by parliament on April 23, but the Constitutional Court blocked the deal after being petitioned by a pro-European opposition lawmaker.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu said the agreement reached in Moscow last week would help plug a rapidly growing budget deficit that is expected to double because of the coronavirus outbreak, reaching an estimated 7 percent of economic output.

The pro-Western opposition has criticized the 10-year loan saying that it poses a long-term "danger" because of obscure provisions that would channel the money toward unnecessary projects that favor Russian companies.

It has also said that Russia's motivation in providing the loan is to back the Moscow-friendly Dodon, who plans to run for a second term later this year.

"The opposition is worried that Moldova will receive a loan of 200 million euros from Russia," Dodon said on his official Facebook feed.

"They would like to provoke a crisis, bring people to the street, and return to power on this wave," Dodon added.

The court's decision to suspend the deal "pending a substantive review" makes the date for drawing funds from the credit uncertain. It also remains unclear as to when the court will rule on whether the loan is legal or not.

Sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is one of Europe's poorest countries.

It has reported more than 2,900 coronavirus infections and 80 deaths so far.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and