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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Mulls Loan

WASHINGTON -- Despite U.S. opposition to Russian attacks in Chechnya, the U.S. Export-Import Bank is still expected to vote this month on a $500 million loan package for the Russian oil sector, an Ex-Im Bank spokesman said Tuesday.

The loans would pay for the services of companies developing an oil field in Siberia for Russia's Tyumen Oil Co. and upgrading the firm's refinery.

The Clinton administration has warned Russia not to carry out its threat to attack the Chechen capital of Grozny, but a White House spokesman declined on Tuesday to say if the Ex-Im Bank's Russian loans may be blocked if the assaults continue.

U.S. law gives President Clinton the authority to block the loans if he determines Russia is violating human rights.

David Kramer, an associate director of the Russian program for the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment, urged Tuesday that the Ex-Im Bank loans not be approved.

"The Clinton administration should not be promoting trade [with Russia] while bombs fall in Chechnya," he wrote in an editorial published in The Financial Times.