War in Ukraine: the AIIB, supported by China, freezes loans to Russia and Belarus | world news
The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Thursday it had suspended and was reviewing all activities related to Russia and Belarus following the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In a statement announcing the freeze and review, the AIIB called the situation a “war in Ukraine,” the closest to “invasion” that any institution affiliated with the Chinese government has so far described the situation in this country. Eastern European countries.
Officially, China sticks to “special military operation” to describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
China is the largest shareholder of the development bank with 26.5% of its voting rights.
Beijing-based Russia is AIIB’s third-largest shareholder after China and India and the bank has approved two projects in the finance and transport sectors, for a total of $800 million.
The AIIB said in a statement Thursday that its management will do everything possible to preserve the financial integrity of the AIIB, amid the changing economic and financial situation.
“As the war in Ukraine unfolds, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) sends its thoughts and sympathy to all those affected. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering,” read a statement. posted on the Beijing-based lender’s website.
“Our Bank is actively monitoring the situation and assessing its impact on AIIB operations and the economies of our members. We, the management, will do everything possible to preserve the financial integrity of the AIIB, in the context of the changing economic and financial situation,” the statement said.
“Under these circumstances, and in the best interests of the bank, management has decided that all activities relating to Russia and Belarus are suspended and under review,” the statement added.
Neither Ukraine nor Belarus are members of the bank, which was founded in 2016 as an alternative to the US-led World Bank.
“The AIIB is a multilateral organization created by an international treaty, and respect for international law is at the very heart of our institution. AIIB management believes that multilateralism provides the best framework for countries to cooperate to address common challenges and support development,” the bank said.
Russia’s economy ministry had proposed that the AIIB help fund five projects in Russia worth nearly $12 billion, the Vedomosti daily reported in January.
The largest of the five projects is the Russian part of a highway linking China to Europe, Vedomosti said, which is estimated to cost $10 billion.
The 7th AIIB Annual Meeting was scheduled to be held in Sochi in October 2022.