The bloc’s top official says the money should be kept until Moscow “voluntarily” helps to rebuild Ukraine
The frozen assets of Russia’s Central Bank may be held as “a guarantee” until Moscow agrees to participate in Ukraine’s economic recovery, European Union (EU) Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said on Saturday.
Western countries seized Russian assets as part of sweeping sanctions that were imposed on Moscow after it launched a military operation in the neighboring state in February.
“From my point of view, it is at least possible to keep these €300 billion ($299 billion) as a guarantee until Russia voluntarily participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,” Reynders told German media.
Ukrainian officials have been demanding that all blocked Russian assets be used to rebuild the country from warfare. Reynders said that the EU has frozen an additional €17 billion ($16.9 billion) worth of assets belonging to “Russian oligarchs and entities.”
“If the EU seizes the money from criminal businesses, it is possible to transfer it to a compensation fund for Ukraine. However, this sum is nowhere near enough to fund reconstruction,” the EU official said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated on Tuesday that the bloc’s ultimate goal is to confiscate Russian assets, but, in order to do that, a legal framework must be established.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the potential confiscation would be tantamount to theft and promised retaliation.
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