ST. PETERSBURG, July 13. /TASS/. Belarus, despite the emerging difficulties, seeks to fulfil its obligations on loans and will do so, no matter what the cost, President of the republic Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg.
"Financially, it has always been difficult for us - you understand why. Russia has strongly supported us, but we sacredly try to fulfil our obligations on the loans that were given to us, and we will fulfil them, no matter what it costs us," he said.
Lukashenko added that the Belarusian economy is "very seriously tied" to the Russian economy, since Minsk and Moscow have maintained many cooperative relations.
In turn, Putin noted that, despite external factors such as the coronavirus pandemic and Western sanctions, Minsk serves all its loans, and in this sense is a reliable and stable partner.
In December last year, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed an order to provide Belarus with a $1 billion interstate loan. It is provided in two tranches of $500 million each in 2020 and 2021. On December 30, 2020, Belarus received the funds of the first tranche, on June 2 it became known that the second tranche was transferred.
On October 16 last year, Belarus also received a $500 million loan from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development for up to 10 years. The Belarusian authorities reported that the loan was used to pay debt for Russian gas and to fight COVID-19. It was also reported that part of the borrowed funds will be used to refinance previously issued loans.
On May 13, Lukashenko signed a decree "On attracting external government loans." Under that decree the Council of Ministers is to place government bonds in the amount of up to 100 billion Russian rubles ($1.3 bln) with a maturity of at least 1,092 days in Russia in 2021-2023. It was reported that the decree on the placement of bonds in Russia for 100 billion Russian rubles was issued in order to refinance the external public debt.