Russia makes firm refusal of Ukraine $5 billion loan request

2009/10/5 18:09:09
Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin News and analysis from Ukraine Business Online KYIV, Oct. 5, 2009 (UBO) – RIA Novosti, Russia’s official news agency, has quoted Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin a
definitively closing the door Monday on the possibility of a loan to help Ukraine through its current budget difficulties. "We are carefully watching the fulfillment [by Ukraine] of the IMF program. As a member of the IMF, Russia supports the IMF loan disbursement to Ukraine but does not plan to grant a loan on a bilateral basis," Kudrin said. It was not only Ukraine that had its expectations dashed. The RIA Novosti report added, “Russia will not disburse the last $500 million tranche of a $2 billion stabilization loan to Belarus.” Belarus has already received $1.5 billion of the loan, but the Russian finance ministry said it needed to assess carefully the prospects of loan repayment. Kudrin said, however, that Russia would help Belarus and Ukraine obtain loans from the IMF and the anti-crisis fund of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. On February 10, 2009, the Russian finance ministry said in an official news release said, "Last week, at their request, bilateral negotiations took place with representatives of the Ukrainian finance ministry… The Ukrainian party asked about the possibility of Russia granting it a credit of five billion US dollars towards covering Ukraine's budget deficit." Russia still holder of huge reserves Although Russia has done of lot of crying poor in recent times, that has not kept a number of countries from knocking on the door of the country that still holds the world's third biggest foreign currency reserves of over $400 billion. Press reports coming out of Istanbul suggest that a number of countries used the weekend’s semi-annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Turkey to press their cases on Russian officials for loans. The reports said those included Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Iceland and Belarus. Finance Ministry Kudrin, with considerable power over Russia’s $400 billion reserves, only gave a positive nod to one of the supplicants, Serbia. He told a reporter for Forbes magazine that Russia has agreed to lend money to Serbia to help cover its budget deficit and fund investment into roads, although the amount and the terms of the loan are yet to be decided. Serbia was reported to have asked Russia during the summer for a $1 billion euro loan but there was no comment from Serbia or Russia as to whether that is the amount of the current discussions. As one might expect in such situations, the loan to Serbia comes with conditions that include opportunities for Russian companies. The investment part of the loan would include projects involving Russian companies, “mainly in the construction of roads and the underground,” Forbes quoted Kudrin as saying. ###
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