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Published: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 10:00:01 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 10:01:02 PM

Russia to provide Belarus with up to $2 billion in borrowings - Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles as he takes part in a televised news conference in Moscow December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles as he takes part in a televised news conference in Moscow December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is to provide Belarus with up to $2 billion in additional borrowings in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Belarus, Russia's staunchest ally among the former Soviet republics, was forced to devalue its rouble by 65 percent against the dollar in 2011 in order to curb current account deficit brought on by excessive government spending.

"Russian government has decided to help our colleagues, in connection with what is happening with the global markets, and provide Belarus with additional borrowings of up to $2 billion," Putin said at a press conference in the Kremlin after meeting his Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.

(Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Megan Davies; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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