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Moldova seeks $500 million loan from Russia in 2020-21

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Moldova’s new pro-Moscow government has asked Russia for a $500 million loan to help modernise its infrastructure over the next two years, its prime minister said, after the resignation of the previous pro-Western administration.

Ion Chicu, confirmed in his post by parliament on Nov. 14, said he had discussed the possible loan during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow last week, during his first trip abroad as premier.

“Negotiations on the $500 million credit line that Russia can provide to Moldova are at an initial stage, so it is premature to talk about loan conditions,” Chicu told a news conference on Monday.

Chicu, a former finance minister, said his government wanted to receive $300 million in 2020 and a further $200 million in 2021.

The previous government of pro-Western prime minister Maia Sandu was felled by a no-confidence vote just five months after it took power promising to fight corruption.

The tiny former Soviet republic signed a political and trade agreement with the European Union in 2014, but since Igor Dodon was elected as president in 2016 Chisinau has increasingly taken the path of establishing closer ties with Moscow.

Moldova, situated between Ukraine and EU member Romania, has lurched from crisis to crisis since the disappearance of $1 billion from its financial system in 2014, which tarnished the reputation of its political class.

Reporting by Alexander Tanas, writing by Natalia Zinets; Editing by Alexander Marrow and Gareth Jones