EU nation pledges to transfer seized Russian assets to Ukraine
Brussels will funnel €200 million ($220 million) in frozen Russian funds to Ukraine, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced on Thursday. The pledge came during a joint press conference with Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in The Hague.
According to de Croo, part of the money will be spent on military aid and the remainder will go toward supporting Ukrainian refugees. The official claimed that using Russian money to rebuild Ukraine makes sense both economically and morally.
De Croo clarified that since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the Belgian authorities have frozen around €180 billion in assets belonging to the Russian central bank.
Belgium is not alone in asserting that Russia should pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Earlier this month, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed that Washington was discussing with partners how Moscow’s frozen assets could be used to benefit Kiev.
In December, US Congress passed a law directing the State Department to award certain proceeds from confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine. The first such transfer was authorized in February and involved $5.4 million expropriated from Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev, who was charged with sanctions evasion.
Russia has called Western attempts to transfer seized assets to Ukraine “barbarism,” vowing that it will respond in kind if necessary. Moscow has also argued that the freezing of its assets is “theft” and violates international law.
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