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Zelensky: Russia must pay a 'painful price' as 'sole culprit of this war'

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 18, 2024 12:00 AM 2 min read
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky poses for a photo before a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the European Political Community summit at the Palacio de Congreso on Oct. 5, 2023 in Granada, Spain. (Juan Medina - Pool/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 17 that Russia must pay a "painful price" for its war in Ukraine, and frozen Russian assets should be utilized to help Ukraine's fight against terror.

Speaking at a ministerial-level round table in support of Ukraine at the World Bank, Zelensky outlined three requirements to help Kyiv not only win the war but also rebuild the country afterward.

"When protecting life, it is important to see the perspective," he said, adding: "Not just how you stand tomorrow, but how you stand in war. This requires sufficient financial support. (Vladimir) Putin has money as a weapon. And we need an effective financial shield.

"The second is justice. Frozen Russian assets should work against Russian terror. The Kremlin, as the sole culprit of this war, must pay a really painful price for it.

"And the third priority is planning. Russia destroyed a significant part of our energy, our economy. Reconstruction is required. New economic capacity is needed."

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

While some partners, like the U.S., have been pushing for funneling these funds directly to Kyiv, European countries have been more hesitant, fearing economic and legal pitfalls.

The EU is instead working on a plan to use the profits generated by the frozen assets to fund defense assistance for Ukraine.

In a positive step on April 16, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) voted unanimously in support of a resolution calling for seizing frozen Russian assets and using them for a new fund for Ukraine's reconstruction.

FT: Ukraine may get 3 billion euros from frozen Russian assets in summer
Ukraine may receive up to 3 billion euros in funds from the profits of frozen Russian central bank assets as early as July, the Financial Times reported on March 12, citing unnamed officials.
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