Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko hold second day of talks in Sochi as US imposes sanctions over plane diversion scandal.

Russia has agreed to release a second $500m loan to Belarus as Moscow stepped up its support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko amid outrage in the West about the grounding of a European passenger plane and the arrest of a dissident journalist.

The financial support was announced after Russian President Vladimir Putin held a second day of talks with Lukashenko, and treated his guest to a yacht tour in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Saturday.

The money is part of a $1.5bn loan that Russia promised Belarus as part of Moscow’s efforts to stabilise its neighbour after mass protests broke out against Lukashenko’s nearly

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