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Russia Weighs Giving Belarus $1 Billion Loan To Help Close Budget Gap

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Russia is considering giving Belarus a loan of $1 billion to help it balance its budget, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on April 11.

"Our presidents met, discussed financial cooperation and discussed issues of financing. We are studying this now. An interstate loan of up to $1 billion is being worked on to support the budget and the current account balance," he told reporters in Moscow.

Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said earlier this week that Moscow had promised over $1 billion in loans for Belarus after recent talks between the leaders of the two countries.

"An instruction has been issued to extend an additional loan worth about $1 billion on good terms," he said during an interview with Belarus' National Television, also referring to an April 3 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in St. Petersburg.

Semashko also said Russia will help Belarus obtain two loan tranches from the Eurasian Stabilization and Development Fund this year worth around $900 million "on very beneficial terms - low interest rates and a good period."

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax

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