SOCHI, September 14. /TASS/. Russia will provide a state credit amounting to $1.5 bln to Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Monday.
"We have agreed that Russia will provide a state credit [amounting to] $1.5 bln to Belarus in this challenging situation, and we will do it. As far as I know our finance ministers are addressing that issue at the professional level," Putin said.
Vladimir Putin hopes that the information about the Russian loan to Belarus will have an effect on the financial markets. "It is no coincidence that I mentioned the loan that Russia is planning to provide to Belarus in the near future. I hope this will have an effect on the financial markets in a proper manner," the Russian leader said.
The Russian president also suggested to his Belarusian counterpart that efforts should be made to restore trade, which had decreased due to the pandemic. "We now have the opportunity to talk about everything in a calm manner, but first of all, we should discuss economic issues," Putin said. He drew attention to the fact that the trade between the two countries had fallen by more than 21% noting that "it's a significant decline."
"This is not related to our work, it is connected with the global trends associated with the coronavirus," Putin stressed.
"We will fight the coronavirus together, and I am sure we will overcome the current difficulties facing the economy," the Russian leader said addressing his Belarusian counterpart.
Issue of Belarus' debt
Lukashenko said at the end of August that Belarus would negotiate refinancing of the republic’s state debt worth $1 bln with Russia. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said later that the terms and amount of the credit were discussed at the level of financial bodies.
Belarusian Finance Minister Yuri Seliverstov said earlier that the country is to repay a total of around $3.6 bln of its foreign exchange debt this year, of which $2 bln has already been paid. According to the data provided by the republic’s Finance Ministry, as of July 2020 Belarus’ external debt amounted to $18 bln.