A further sharp deterioration of the economic situation in Russia could call into question the planned release of two Russian loans worth $475 million to Armenia, a senior Armenian official said on Wednesday.
The Russian government pledged to lend the money in accordance with two agreements signed with the Armenian side last year.
One of the loans worth $200 million is to be spent on the purchase of advanced Russian-made weapons for the Armenian armed forces. The other, $275 million credit is due to be used for extending the life of the Armenian nuclear power plant at Metsamor.
“I’m not informed about all the details, but if the situation [in Russia] worsens significantly then it’s possible that [the two loans] will not be made available,” Deputy Finance Minister Pavel Safarian told reporters in Yerevan. “The Russian government is confident and we hope that the situation will not worsen that much.”
Safarian pointed to the continuing fall in oil prices which has plunged Russia into recession and caused the Russian ruble to lose more than half of its value against the U.S. dollar.
Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said on Monday that his government is finding it increasingly “risky” to promise fresh loans to foreign states this year. But he gave no indications that Moscow will reconsider soon its lending obligations assumed in 2015.
“Failing to honor obligations on approved loans is even more shameful than failing to honor obligations on debt repayments,” Storchak told the TASS news agency. “There can’t be a greater embarrassment for any creditor.”