BBC News, 19 May 2011
A Russian-backed $3bn (£1.8bn; 2.1bn euros) loan has been agreed for Belarus, the struggling ex-Soviet republic's prime minister has said.
|Vladimir Putin (left) met his Belarusian counterpart,|
There was no immediate confirmation from Russia, whose powerful prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has been visiting the capital Minsk.
Analysts predict conditions for any bail-out will be stringent.
It is believed that Russia is seeking the privatisation of key assets in the Soviet-style Belarusian economy.
A currency crisis is currently gripping Belarus, eroding rouble savings and causing a shortage of imported goods such as medicines.
Russia is one of the country's few allies while its authoritarian political system under President Alexander Lukashenko has estranged it from the West.
Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said conditions had been agreed to provide a crisis loan of $3bn-$3.5bn over three years at a below-market interest rate.
It would be released, he said, through the Eurasian Economic Community, a six-nation group led by Russia.
Mr Myasnikovich suggested the loan had been linked to reform of the Belarusian economy.
Moscow is said to have its eye on Belarusian assets, including oil refineries, the gas pipeline system, the main mobile phone provider and the potash production complex.
Russia already subsidises the Belarusian economy in exchange for it smoothly delivering Russian oil to Europe.