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FT: EU leaders back using profits of frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek October 27, 2023 5:38 PM 2 min read
The EU and Ukrainian flags in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 2023. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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EU leaders have supported plans to use billions of euros in profits generated by frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Oct. 27, citing official sources.

The bloc's chiefs voiced support for the idea during their two-day summit in Brussels. Now, the European Commission is expected to present a concrete legal proposal in early December, the outlet said, citing two undisclosed senior officials.

Brussels is in regular contact with the U.K. and the U.S. to coordinate their approach regarding the frozen Russian funds, officials told the Financial Times.

Western sanctions have frozen around $300 billion of Russia's sovereign assets since the start of the full-scale invasion. Some $190 billion of this sum is held at Euroclar, a Brussels-based securities depository.

Zelensky asks EU leaders for endurance in face of Russia’s aggressive ambitions
“Russia needs to see that its ambitions as an invader will endure less than our ability to defend our freedom,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address to EU chiefs convening for a two-day European Council summit in Brussels.

Euroclar said on Oct. 26 that it had earned over $3 billion from financial operations with the frozen funds in the nine months of 2023, compared to less than $370 million in the same period last year.

Kyiv and its Western partners have long been discussing possible methods of using Russian assets immobilized on Western accounts for funding Ukraine.

These efforts have been spearheaded by Belgiun, which created a $1.8 billion fund for Ukraine, financed by the tax revenue from interest on frozen Russian assets.

On Oct. 12, the Estonian government approved a draft law that, if passed by parliament, would allow immobilized Russian assets to be transferred to Ukraine.

Minister: UK explores using frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine’s defense
U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt said that finance ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) members had also discussed “whether Russian sovereign assets could be used to fund Ukraine’s defense.”
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