Russia has announced the release of the first $800 million of a bailout loan to Belarus aimed at helping Belarus recover from its worst economic crisis since the Soviet era.
The Eurasian Economic Community, a small grouping of former Soviet republics led by Russia, has agreed to release a $3 billion loan to Belarus over three years.
Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said Belarus had "fulfilled all the formal obligations" and was issued the first payment.
He also said that Moscow reserved the right to review the release of additional money if President Alyaksandr Lukashenka barred Russian goods from entering Belarus.
Belarus is scheduled to receive the next payment of $440 million by the end of the year.
compiled from local and international agency reports