Economists say they see huge benefits for Russia over its decision to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) specifically now that the country faces a draconian regime of US-led sanctions.    

Renowned Chinese economist Li Daokui believes that Russia’s AIIB membership will not only allow Russian companies to take part in ambitious infrastructure projects in the region, but create vast opportunities for more foreign investments in Russian economy.

Li has been quoted by Sputnik news agency as saying that Russia’s membership to AIIB will soon make the country an important player in the newly-created financial institution.

This comes as concerns are already rising in Washington over growing applications by countries – many of them hardcore US allies – to join the AIIB.

The long list of countries that have announced they will join the bank includes Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Britain, France, Germany and Italy apart from Russia. .

The bank – which is seen as an emerging rival to powerful Western-led financial institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund – is feared by the White House to be a new policy by Beijing to increase the influence of the world’s second largest economy at regional and international levels.

The AIIB is expected to announce an initial subscribed capital of $50 billion and focus on supporting infrastructure projects across Asia.