Russia gets first World Bank investment since crisis
The World Bank approved an investment in Russia for the first time since President V. Putinannexed Crimea, overriding Canada's opposition and a lack of support from the U.S. and parts of Europe.
The International Finance Corp., the lender’s private-sector arm, voted May 29 for parts of a 250 million euro ($340 million) package enabling French grocery retailer Groupe Auchan SA to expand in Russia, Vietnam and other emerging markets, World Bank spokeswoman Serene Jweied said yesterday in an e-mail.
The deal thrusts the Washington-based lender, formed in the aftermath of World War II to rebuild Europe, into the debate over how to use economic sanctions to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
“Canada took a principled stance by voting against this project because we do not support projects that benefit Russia,” Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver said in an e-mailed statement. “Russia must not interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state.”
The Worl Bank's planned investment, its first related to Russia since February, forced countries that have slapped sanctions on Putin’s inner circle to consider withholding development aid as part of their toolkit of penalties.
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