Russia expected to provide $2-billion loan to Belarus in July or August

Alyaksandr Surikov Russia may provide a $2-billion interstate loan to Belarus in July or August, Russian Ambassador Alyaksandr Surikov told reporters in Minsk on Wednesday.

The decision to issue such a loan was made as far back as the end of 2013, he noted, adding that the issue was also discussed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka last month.

“Today the State Duma is reviewing the budget for this year, and room will be made in it for the loan,” Mr. Surikov said. “Specific agreements on the terms of the loan will be signed after the Russian budget’s indicators are specified.”

Before the arrival of the interstate loan, Russia’s VTB Bank will give Belarus a boost with a $1-billion bridge loan, he said.

Syarhey Rumas, head of the Development Bank of Belarus, announced on May 30 that the Russian bank would issue the $1-billion loan in the next 10 to 14 days.

Mr. Rumas said that the money would be used to replenish Belarus’ shrinking gold and foreign exchange reserves.

The loan and a $450-million loan provided by the same bank to Belarus in December 2013 will be repaid with a $2-billion loan that Minsk hopes to receive from the Russian government before this September, said Mr. Rumas. //BelaPAN