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EU can ‘transfer’ frozen billions from Russia to compensate Ukraine (official)

European Union (EU) Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Saturday that money from frozen Russian assets could be used to compensate Ukraine in connection with the invasion of the Eastern European country. ballast.

Reynders told German media group Funke that the EU had frozen $16.9 billion (€17 billion) in Russian assets, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported. This figure has increased from the 13.7 billion dollars (13.8 billion euros) of frozen assets announced by the commissioner in July. Reynders said at the time that the EU had frozen assets belonging to Russian oligarchs and “other entities” in five countries.

“So far, the assets of 90 people have been frozen, more than 17 billion euros in seven member states, including 2.2 billion euros in Germany,” he said on Saturday, according to the AFP. “If it is criminal money confiscated by the EU, it is possible to transfer it to a compensation fund for Ukraine.”

With some Ukrainian officials calling for the money to be used to rebuild Ukraine after the massive destruction wrought by Russia, Reynders said on Saturday that “this amount is nowhere near enough to fund reconstruction.”

Above, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders (far right) is seen on May 25 in Brussels. Reynders said on Saturday that money from frozen Russian assets could be used to compensate Ukraine.
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested a similar idea at a July press conference in Strasbourg, France, when she said they were working on a “legal framework “which would allow them to use the frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine.

“I think it’s a matter of justice to consider this issue,” she said.

Parts of the country have already suffered significant damage from the Russian invasion, with the Mariupol City Council announcing at the time that preliminary estimates indicated restoration could cost $10 billion for that city alone.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Reynders said the $298.9 million (300 billion euros) the EU has frozen from Russia’s Central Bank could be used as ‘collateral’ until Moscow voluntarily participates. to the reconstruction of its Eastern European neighbour.

“From my point of view, it is at least possible to keep these 300 billion euros as a guarantee until Russia voluntarily participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,” he added.

In a separate interview with Abendblatt BurgerReynders said he was “reasonably certain” that Russians suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine would be called to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) this year, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Saturday.

“If prosecutors want to start at the top level, let them do it,” he said.

European countries and the United States launched a number of sanctions against Russia in late February in response to the war in Ukraine. Sanctions have been launched against the country’s energy market in an effort to weaken the Kremlin’s economy.

Since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea, more than 1,200 people, including oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have had their assets frozen. They have also been banned from entering the EU, according to AFP.

Newsweek contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.


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