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14 Dec 2018

Lukashenko responds to claims of Russia multi-billion support of Belarus economy

Lukashenko responds to claims of Russia multi-billion support of Belarus economy

MINSK, 14 December (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko responded to the claims of Russian subsidizing the Belarusian economy as he met with representatives of the Russian media on 14 December, BelTA has learned.

The president stressed that when Russian provides credit support, firstly, it charges higher interest rate than the IMF. On the other hand, Russia lends to the end-user who manufactures goods, including using Russian components.

“We have received some $4-5 billion in loans from the Russian Federation as of today. Every year we pay $1.200 billion in interest rates,” the president said.

“Very often I read reports in the media or hear, even from supporters of our union, on continuous support of the Belarusian economy? Some even estimate that since gaining independence Belarus has received as much as $100 billion from Russia. When I read such statements, I think that if Belarusians received $100 billion, they would choke on such a huge number of bills received in foreign currency from our sister nation. This is complete nonsense,” the head of state noted.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that these estimates are based on the assumption that certain products could be sold to Belarus at a higher price. “First of all, one should know how to sell. Today, Russia is ready to sell more oil and gas, but the Belarusian market does not consume so much. Moreover, if Belarus’ economy collapsed, Russia would not be able to sell anything here at all. We buy 25 billion cubic meters of gas and 24 million tonnes of oil. Excluding customs duties in the Customs Union, and now in the EAEU, this is still big money,” the Belarusian leader said.

The president added that Belarus also sells its goods to Russia without customs duties. The mutual trade is high. 

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