17:04 Moscow reluctant over $1bn loan to Minsk

Moscow has told Minsk to come up with more convincing arguments in order to get a Russian loan. The Belarus government is seeking $1-1.5 billion from Moscow it says it needs to stabilize economy. Recent reports suggest Minsk can hope only for $1 billion.

The Belarusian officials justify the need for the loan by "increased prices for the Russian energy resources and forced introduction of state subsidies to oil refineries due their loss-making operation in the new conditions".

However, Russia who is getting ready to enter the WTO says it cannot accept state subsidies for exporters.

The news is reported by the Russian news agency PRIME-TASS, quoting sources close to the Russian government. The Belarus's Finance Ministry is now developing new, more convincing, arguments for the talks over the Russian loan.