Putin pledges 500-million-dollar credit to Moldova
Moldovan leader Vladimir Voronin is facing a political crisis at home after recent legislative elections led to bloody riots against his ruling Communist Party.Moscow -- Russia is ready to loan up to 500 million dollars (360 million euros) to the impoverished former Soviet republic of Moldova, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
Putin announced the loan at a meeting with visiting Moldovan leader Vladimir Voronin, who is facing a political crisis at home after recent legislative elections led to bloody riots against his ruling Communist Party.
"We studied your request on extending Moldova a government credit of half a billion dollars. We consider this to be possible," Putin told Voronin, quoted by the Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies.
"We are ready to do this. The first tranche could reach Moldova in one-and-a-half to two months," Putin said, putting the size of the first tranche at 150 million dollars (110 million euros).
Putin added that the Russian government would have to amend its budget and obtain parliamentary approval before the loan could go through.
Moldova, which is Europe's poorest country measured in per capita income, has been deadlocked in a political crisis since an April 5 legislative election that liberal opposition parties condemned as rigged.
Dozens of people were injured and hundreds arrested when demonstrations against the election results turned violent.
The country is now set for new legislative elections on July 29 after the deadlocked parliament failed to elect a new head of state to succeed Voronin, who must step down after serving the maximum two presidential terms.
Voronin has been criticised in the European Union -- especially in Moldova's neighbour Romania -- but he found a warm reception in Moscow on Monday.
Earlier, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev received him in the Kremlin and expressed support for Voronin's handling of the crisis.
"We support and will support the measures that have been taken by the Moldovan leadership to establish constitutional order," Medvedev told Voronin, in comments released by the Kremlin.