World Bank suspends all programs in Russia, Belarus

A participant stands near the World Bank logo at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. Reuters/Johannes B Christo

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank said on Wednesday it was halting all programs in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “hostile actions against the people of Ukraine.”

In a statement, the Multilateral Development Bank said it had not approved any new loans or investments to Russia since 2014, the year Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.

The bank said it has not approved any new loans to Belarus since mid-2020, when the United States imposed sanctions on the country over a disputed presidential election.

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World Bank lending commitments to Belarus totaled $308 million in 2020, according to the bank’s website, with active projects including a biomass heating project, forest development work, and education updates.

The World Bank has loaned more than $16 billion to Russia since the early 1990s. The bank’s website showed that the most recent projects approved include the North Caucasus Youth Program in 2013 and the Cultural Heritage Program dating back to 2010.

The decision to halt all programs in Russia and Belarus came a day after World Bank and International Monetary Fund leaders said they were racing to provide billions of dollars in additional financing to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months, warning that war could ensue. Its “significant repercussions” to other countries. Read more

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The European Union, the United States, Britain and other countries imposed a wide range of sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Read more

They have also imposed asset freezes, travel bans, and other restrictions on several Russian individuals, including President Vladimir Putin himself.

Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation.”

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(Covering) By Andrea Shalal in Washington Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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