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Russia Ready To Send $500 Million Loan Tranche To Belarusian Government

By RFE/RL May 29, 2021

Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka was in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi for a second day of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The talks on May 29 were described as informal by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said the day before that the summit would last just one day.

Peskov also told journalists that Russia was prepared to send the second $500 million tranche of a $1.5 billion loan to Belarus "in the immediate future."

Lukashenka has been under intense domestic and international pressure since a disputed presidential election in August 2020 that has been widely denounced as falsified. The election, which gave Lukashenka a sixth presidential term, prompted mass demonstrations and an often brutal crackdown by his government.

Russia has been Lukashenka's main ally throughout the events, providing political, technical, and financial support to the Belarusian government.

Earlier this month, Minsk scrambled a fighter jet to divert a Ryanair commercial passenger jet and force it to land in the Belarusian capital, citing a purported bomb threat.

Although no bomb was found, authorities in Minsk detained journalist Raman Pratasevich, a prominent opposition activist.

During the first day of the Sochi talks on May 28, Putin dismissed the Western reaction to the flight's diversion as "an outburst of emotions."

With reporting by TASS

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/russia- belarus-loan-talks/31280220.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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