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Minister: 3 billion euros of Russian assets revenue 'almost nothing' in war's context

by Martin Fornusek May 10, 2024 11:23 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Justice Minister Denys Maliuska addresses journalists at the end of a meeting of the G7 Justice Ministers on Nov. 29, 2022, in Berlin. (Photo by John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images)
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The EU's expected annual contribution of around 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion), drawn from frozen Russian assets profits, is "almost nothing" in the context of the full-scale war, Justice Minister Denys Maliuska told Politico in an interview published on May 10.

EU ambassadors agreed on May 8 on a plan to use windfall profits of immobilized Russian assets to fund Ukraine's reconstruction and defense needs. Kyiv is expected to receive roughly 3 billion euros every year, according to earlier discussions.

"If we are talking about the needs of Ukraine and the needs of the war, military and non-military, 3 billion euros is actually almost nothing— we need hundreds of billions in order to win the war," Maliuska told Politico at the G7 justice ministers' meeting in Venice on May 9.

"It's a good first step," he added.

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Ukraine's Western partners and other allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets at the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022. Roughly two-thirds are held in the Belgium-based financial services company Euroclear.

While some G7 members, like the U.S., proposed seizing Russian assets outright, the EU has been more hesitant, fearing legal and fiscal pitfalls of confiscation. Instead, Brussels seeks to use windfall profits generated by the frozen assets and funnel them to Kyiv.

"The Ukrainian government really would like to get full confiscation (of Russian assets) and really believe this is lawful, and this is the only approach which will be decisive in terms of the resolution of the war (with Russia)," Maliuska said.

Ukraine is in dire need of defense assistance as Russia increases pressure along the front line and pounds the country's cities and energy grid with missiles and drones. The costs of Ukraine's reconstruction also continue to rise, amounting to $486 billion over a 10-year period, according to the World Bank's report from February.

Opinion: The REPO Act hasn’t won the war for Russian assets
U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians (REPO) Act on April 24. Largely overshadowed in the media by the groundbreaking approval of $61 billion in aid for Ukraine that same day, the REPO Act is equally crucial. However, the REPO Act has not
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