Belarus receives $700-million loan from Russian government

Belarus received a $700-million loan from the Russian government on September 15, reported the Belarusian finance ministry.

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According to the ministry, the loan was provided in pursuance of an agreement that was reached by the heads of Belarus and Russia in April. 

The agreement was signed in Moscow on August 30. 

Under the agreement, Russia was to lend Belarus the ruble equivalent of $700 million. 

The funds will be used to refinance Belarus’ debt on Russia’s previous government loans. 

The new loan has to be repaid within 10 years starting in 2018. In particular, the Belarusian government is to make two annual payments: one in April and one in October. 

Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vasil Matsyushewski said earlier this year that Russia had agreed to allow Belarus to refinance up to $800 million worth of its debt due this year. 

The official said that an agreement to this effect had been reached at a meeting between Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg on April 4. 

"The refinancing of the debt that we have on our bilateral agenda was discussed," said the deputy prime minister. "The matter was discussed as far back as last year and now we have revisited it and found a possible fundamental solution." 

He said that Belarus' entire debt on Russian government loans that was due this year would be refinanced. The amount varies between $750 million and $800 million, he said.