MINSK, Belarus – The leader of Belarus says Russia has promised to offer financial assistance to his nation.
President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday that he has secured Russian President Vladimir Putin's promise to help shore up the Belarusian economy, which has suffered from recession in Russia, its main export market.
Lukashenko didn't elaborate, but Belarus is seeking a $2-billion loan from a Moscow-dominated economic alliance. Russia has provided Belarus with cheap natural gas and released $900 million in loans to Belarus last year.
Russia and its western neighbor have developed close economic and military ties, but Lukashenko has bristled at Moscow's attempts to gobble up Belarus' economic assets and resisted the Kremlin push for Belarus to host a Russian military base.
Belarus also has sought a $3-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.