EU Countries Mull Over Confiscating Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.01 - 2024 10:34 AM CET

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
EU countries consider confiscating Russian assets to aid Ukraine.

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Some EU countries are considering seizing private Russian assets to support Ukraine, EU spokesperson Peter Stano told Kommersant FM. He refrained from naming specific countries involved in these discussions.

Russia Must Pay for the Damage

"Russia must pay for the damage inflicted on Ukraine," Stano emphasized.

"We are exploring this as one of the possible options, but it is being considered by individual countries, not at the EU level as a whole."

Currently, over 2,000 individuals and entities have their assets frozen within the union due to sanctions. Stano clarified,

"These funds primarily belong to Russian and Belarusian oligarchs and their companies, which we consider linked to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's regime."

Exploring Legal Grounds for Confiscation

Countries within the EU and the G7 are examining ways to use these assets to support Ukraine. Stano did not elaborate on the legal mechanisms that could facilitate their confiscation.

For now, the EU is focused on using profits from Russia's frozen foreign currency reserves, according to Stano.

Estonia Leads the Way

On May 30, Estonia approved the transfer of sanctioned Russian assets to Ukraine. Merely freezing assets due to Western sanctions will not suffice for their confiscation.

The law permits confiscation only from Russians "actively involved in committing military aggression or violating the norms of warfare," and this must be supported by substantial evidence. Additionally, individuals and entities can challenge the confiscation decision in an administrative court.

Estonia is the first country to enact such legislation. The country’s foreign minister, Margus Tsahkna, estimated the value of blocked Russian private assets in Estonia at 37-39 million euros.

On May 21, the EU finalized a plan to transfer profits from the frozen reserves of Russia's Central Bank to Ukraine. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky stated that Kyiv could receive 3 billion euros this year, with 90% allocated for military support.

These assets are expected to generate approximately 5 billion euros annually, with Ukraine receiving these funds biannually.

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