Belarus might receive a loan from Russia, which was agreed during the two states' leaders meeting in April, by the end of this year's first half, Russian Ambassador in Minsk Alexander Surikov told journalists.
urikov explained that with the help of the loan Minsk would be able to restructure its debt arrears payments to the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development and under the previous Russian loan.
"The decision on this state loan was made, the Russian Ministry of Finance considers it positively. The loan is being prepared and I think that it is likely to be received by Belarus by the end of the first half of this year," Surikov said.
On May 30, Belarusian Finance Minister Vladimir Amarin said that the issue of Russia's loan amounting to $700 million for debt restructuring was under detailed consideration.
The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on April 3 was focused on Belarus' debts restructure related to gas arrears. Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky said that Russia would refinance the country's debt amounting to $750-800 million as part of the gas dispute settlement deal.
The most recent Russian-Belarusian energy dispute escalated in 2016 after Minsk called Russian gas prices unfair and unilaterally reduced them. By late 2016, Belarus owed $270-$300 million for Russian gas. Minsk refused to acknowledge the debt, with Russia reducing its duty-free oil exports to Belarus saying it was due to inadequate gas payments and insufficient petroleum products’ shipments to Russia.