WASHINGTON, March 3 – The World Bank said Wednesday it has halted all programs in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and “hostilities against the Ukrainian people.”
In a statement, the multilateral development bank said it had not approved any new loans or investments in Russia since 2014, the year Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
The bank said it had not approved any new loans to Belarus since mid-2020, when the United States imposed sanctions on the country following a disputed presidential election.
World Bank loan commitments to Belarus amounted to US$308 million (RM1.2 billion) in 2020, according to the bank’s website, with active projects including a heat project. biomass, forestry development work and educational upgrades.
The World Bank has lent more than US$16 billion to Russia since the early 1990s. The most recent projects approved include a youth program in the North Caucasus in 2013 and a cultural heritage program dating from 2010, the bank’s website said.
The decision to halt all programs in Russia and Belarus came a day after World Bank and International Monetary Fund leaders said they were rushing to provide billions of dollars in additional financing to Ukraine. in the weeks and months to come, warning that war could result. in “significant spillovers” to other countries.
The European Union, United States, Britain and others hit Russia with a wide range of sanctions after it invaded Ukraine.
They have also imposed asset freezes, travel bans and other restrictions on many Russian people, including President Vladimir Putin himself.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”. —Reuters