5 Oct 2009 14:07

Russia won

ISTANBUL. Oct 5 (Interfax) - Russia will not lend money to Belarus or Ukraine on a bilateral basis, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said.

"We won't provide it on a bilateral basis," Kudrin told journalists in Istanbul in response to a question on whether Russia had disbursed the latest $500-million loan tranche to Belarus, part of a $2-billion stabilization loan.

However, it might provide loans under the EurAsEC's anti-crisis fund, which will begin operation following the ratification of its creation by member states, including Belarus, Kudrin said.

Previously Kudrin had said disbursement of the $500-million tranche was contingent on Minsk's economic policy. Asked about economic reform in Belarus, Kudrin said he was satisfied with the actions of the Belarusian government on that score. "They are implementing 90% of the reforms drawn up jointly with the IMF," he said.

Kudrin expressed the hope that the reforms would bring results, but did not comment on Belarus' creditworthiness.

Russia is also paying attention to Ukraine's implementation of the IMF program and supports the IMF's decision to provide a loan. "As a member of the IMF, we support allocation of the loan to Ukraine. But we aren't planning [to lend] on a bilateral basis," he said.

Ukraine is not eligible for loans from the EurAsEC fund as it is not a member.

Ukraine asked Russia for a loan of $5 billion in February 2009.

Last fall the IMF approved a $17-billion stand-by loan for Ukraine, which has since received three tranches totaling almost $11 billion. Kyiv expects to receive the fourth, $3.8-billion tranche in November.