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Minister: UK explores using frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine's defense

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 13, 2023 6:28 PM 2 min read
U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt (R) on the closing day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, U.K., on Oct. 4, 2023. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The U.K. government had asked the country's central bank to explore options for using frozen Russian sovereign assets to fund Ukraine's defense, the BBC reported on Oct. 13, citing U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt.

The official 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."

"We need to do everything we can to make sure that Russia cannot continue to fund (the war)," Hunt told the BBC at an annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Marrakech.

"Anything to make sure that Putin knows in the end he won't be able to afford this kind of aggression."

Earlier during the Marrakech conference, the G7 countries pledged that around $280 billion of Russian funds held in their jurisdictions will remain frozen until Moscow pays war reparations to Ukraine.

Hunt's statement comes amid ongoing discussions in the U.S. and the European Union on developing legal procedures needed to send frozen Russian assets to Ukraine to help fund the country's recovery.

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.

Meanwhile, Belgium has created a 1.7 billion euro ($1.8 billion) fund for Ukraine financed by tax revenue from interest on such assets.

Tetiana Khutor: Are legal constraints an excuse for dragging feet on mobilizing Russian assets?
No nation can single-handedly cover all of Ukraine’s reconstruction needs, and nor should it be expected to, considering the existence of frozen Russian assets worth billions worldwide. These funds will serve as the primary source for Ukraine’s recovery. To better grasp the situation, it is worth e…

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