MINSK, June 17 (Reuters) – Belarussian President Alexander
Lukashenko promised on Friday to resolve a deepening financial
crisis within several months but announced no concrete steps and
said the country needed to be ready for a “catastrophe”.
In a marathon five-hour news conference, the authoritarian
leader shifted tack repeatedly, varying defiance in the face of
criticism from the West with offers of diplomatic concessions in
exchange for much-needed loans.
MINSK, June 14 (Reuters) – China boosted its presence in the
ex-Soviet bloc’s commodities sector on Tuesday by lending over
$1 billion to Belarus just a day after signing two large deals
in Kazakhstan, another former Soviet republic.
A bulk of funds provided to Belarus will be used to build a
cellulose plant which may then export its produce to China, the
Belarussian government said, while Monday’s Kazakh deals
included a loan to a major copper producer.
MINSK, June 10 (Reuters) – Russian potash miner Uralkali
said it is considering doing a deal with the state-owned
Belarussian fertiliser firm Belaruskali, which has been valued
by Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko at $30 billion.
Uralkali said in a statement it was “considering entering
into a transaction with Belaruskali”, and may lend its trading
partner $1 billion as part of any deal.
MINSK, June 8 (Reuters) – Belarussian President Alexander
Lukashenko, responding to rare public protests, on Wednesday
slashed a big rise in fuel prices announced only the previous
Mounting discontent over soaring consumer prices against the
backdrop of a currency crisis is putting political pressure on
authoritarian Lukashenko who has run the country since 1994,
maintaining a Soviet-style government-dominated economy.
MINSK, May 27 (Reuters) – President Alexander Lukashenko
warned key creditor Russia on Friday that Belarus would not sell
off state assets cheaply to secure an emergency loan, and said
Russian media should be expelled for sowing “hysteria” about his
The comments could jeopardise Minsk’s plans to secure $3
billion from a Russian-led bailout fund next week and deepen a
currency crisis that threatens to overwhelm the former Soviet
republic, which also faced a fresh debt rating setback.
MINSK (Reuters) – A court in Belarus Thursday sentenced two political opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko to prison terms for organizing a mass protest against his re-election last December.
The move is likely to trigger new economic sanctions from Western governments at a time when Belarus is struggling with a financial crisis. But Lukashenko Wednesday hinted that he may pardon convicted opposition figures in what analysts said would be an attempt to rebuild relations.
MINSK, May 19 (Reuters) – Russia urged Belarus on Thursday
to sell off state assets in order to secure a credit lifeline
from a Moscow-led bailout fund as a currency crisis deepened
in the former Soviet republic.
Belarus could raise $7.5 billion to $9.0 billion from
privatisation in the next two to three years to supplement a
proposed $3.5 billion bailout loan, Russian Finance Minister
Alexei Kudrin said.
MINSK (Reuters) – One of President Alexander Lukashenko’s main political opponents was sentenced on Saturday to five years in a high-security jail after being convicted of helping to organize a rally against the leader’s re-election.
Andrei Sannikov, a former deputy foreign minister and co-founder of the Charter 97 rights group, was found guilty of organizing mass disturbances, a charge he had denied.
MOSCOW/MINSK, May 11 (Reuters) – Russia refused to provide a
bailout loan to ally Belarus on Wednesday, telling it to
privatise state assets and seek help from the IMF, which in turn
urged it to speed through reforms to overcome a currency crisis.
The Russian snub came in spite of Belarus’ decision on
Wednesday to ease restrictions on the foreign currency exchange
rate, which Moscow had asked for, and raise the central bank’s
refinancing rate by 100 basis points.
MINSK (Reuters) – Belarus’ currency crisis deepened on Friday as interbank foreign exchange trading ground to a halt, participants said, following a policy U-turn on valuations from the central bank.
The bank, battling to restore confidence in the country’s depreciating rouble, said on Tuesday it would allow the currency to float on the interbank market, taking a step towards a full-scale devaluation.