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Russia to Restructure Loans to Belarus

President Vladimir Putin with Belarus's President Alexander Lukashenko

Russia said on Thursday it would restructure some of its loans to Belarus, whose economy has been hurt by a weaker Russian ruble.

"We agreed to help them at this difficult time, regarding prolonging existing credit obligations," said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a televised government meeting.

The former Soviet republic has a record $4 billion in debt payments this year, mostly to Russia and the International Monetary Fund.

Belarus has also asked the International Monetary Fund for a financial package, in addition to a $3.5 billion standby loan Belarus received from the IMF in 2009-2010 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Belarus has deep economic ties to Moscow, and the country is facing a 2-percent economic contraction this year as it wrestles with Russia's downturn and currency devaluation, according to the IMF.

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