Updated at 17:11,20-07-2018

Russia's deputy Finance Minister is afraid of going to Belarus


Russia's deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak does not know whether it is safe for him to go to Belarus now.

The arrest of Uralkali's director general Vladislav Baumgartner will not affect the provision of the final tranche of the Eurasian Economic Community Anti-crisis fund's loan for Belarus in the amount of $440 million, the deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told journalists today.

"This is in no way related to the arrests, and we have to follow our obligations. If the Anti-crisis fund concludes that the final tranche can be provided, we will provide it, what else can we do?" – Storchak said. By his estimation, the decision on the tranche will be made in autumn, probably in November, Vedomosti reports.

The fund came to Minsk's rescue in the crisis year of 2011, having loaned $3 billion in total, which were to be provided in several tranches within 3 years. Belarus received the previous tranche in January.

Belarus announced the intent to ask the Eurasian Economic Community's fund for a new stabilization loan on 26 August. On the same day Baumgartner was detained in Minsk airport after having met Belarus' Prime-Minister Mikhail Miasnikovich. He is being accused of power abuse. Belarusian Criminal Code provides for a punishment of 3 to 10 year in prison for such a crime.

Storchak noted that he did not link the arrest of Uralkali's director general and the decision on providing Belarus with another tranche. According to him, such things influence the very negotiation process, but "do not influence the ends". "This episode may be a misunderstanding", - Interfax quotes him. Speaking of the negotiations he noted that he meant "how further contacts will maintained and whether we could go there or not".