Four EU states call for frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine as estimated cost £477b

A joint letter written by Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia and Estonia to EU finance ministers will call on Tuesday for assets seized by the European Union to fund the rebuilding of the country once the war is finished. On May 3, Ukraine estimated that $600billion (£477.3billion) would be needed to rebuild the country devastated by the war.

On May 3, Ukraine estimated that $600billion (£477.3billion) would be needed to rebuild the country devastated by the war.

However, with the war still ongoing this figure is likely to rise further, possibly substantially so.

In the letter the authors argue that Russia must cover a “substantial” amount of the cost of rebuilding Ukraine.

They said: “A substantial part of costs of rebuilding Ukraine, including compensation for victims of the Russian military aggression, must be covered by Russia.

“Ultimately, if Russia does not stop the military aggression against Ukraine, there should be no economic ties remaining between EU and Russia at all – ensuring that none of our financial resources, products or services contributes to Russia’s war machine.

“We must now identify legal ways to maximise the use of these resources as a source of funding – for both the costs of Ukraine’s continued efforts to withstand the Russian aggression, and for the post-war reconstruction of the country.

“Confiscation of state assets, such as central bank reserves or property of state-owned enterprises, has a direct link and effect in this regard.

“In cases where legal ways to confiscate the assets will not be identified, it should be used as leverage and released only once Russia compensates Ukraine for all the damages done.”

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If possible these could be used to help Ukraine financially under national and European laws.

No mention was made of central bank reserves, however.

European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said that seizing frozen assets wasn’t “possible” in most EU member states.

He said: “Freezing of assets is different to seizing them.

“In most member states, this is not possible and a criminal conviction is necessary to confiscate assets.

“Also, legally speaking, private entities and central bank assets are not the same.”

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