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Biden, Macron reach agreement on using profits from frozen Russian assets for Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 9, 2024 8:22 PM 1 min read
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a speech during the U.S. ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II "D-Day" Allied landings in Normandy in Colleville-sur-Mer, France on June 6, 2024. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden announced on June 9 that he had reached an agreement with French President Emmanuel Macron on using the profits from frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

When asked if the topic was discussed and if an agreement was made, Biden confirmed, “Yes and yes.”

No further details were provided by Biden.

The G7 and the European Union are exploring ways to utilize the profits from Russian assets frozen in the West to offer Ukraine a substantial upfront loan and ensure its financial stability through 2025.

Approximately $281 billion in Russian central bank funds are frozen worldwide, primarily in the EU. These funds generate up to $3.8 billion annually in profit, which the EU states are not contractually owed to Russia and thus represent a windfall.

The U.S. has championed the idea of using these profits as a steady revenue stream to service a large loan of $50 billion that could be raised on the market. Russia argues that diverting profits from frozen funds constitutes theft.

EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan indicated on May 31 that Kyiv is expected to receive the first tranche of revenue from frozen Russian assets from the European Union this summer.

"We are talking about summer. I would not like to promise when exactly the money will be transferred to the account, but decisions will be made in the next few weeks, and the payment will be made later," O'Sullivan said in answer to the question of when the first tranche might arrive.

The EU Council agreed on May 21 to use profits from the frozen Russian sovereign assets to aid Ukraine. According to the statement, the proceedings could amount to between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros ($2.7-3.26 billion) annually, with most of it allocated to Kyiv's military needs.

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