EU suggests rebuilding Ukraine with Russian reserves, Russia responds
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tells the Financial Times he believes the EU should confiscate Russian reserves to rebuild Ukraine, and Russia slams the move as "complete lawlessness".
The European Union could explore using Russia's frozen foreign currency assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine if fighting ends, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who spoke to The Financial Times on Monday.
Borrell observed that there is precedence for seizing a country's reserve monies and using them for "humanitarian purposes". The US took a similar approach in March when Biden decided to seize a total of $7 billion from Afghanistan's blocked foreign exchange assets, giving half to a fund that allegedly provides "humanitarian" help to Afghans and allocating the other half to families of 9/11 victims.
Borrell told The Financial Times, "We have the money in our pockets, and someone has to explain to me why it is good for the Afghan money and not good for the Russian money," adding that it would be "full of logic" to make a similar move toward Russia.
He went on to say that restoring Ukraine, whose infrastructure and residential dwellings have been severely damaged in the last two months, will cost an "incredible amount of money," with the EU likely bearing the majority of the expenditures.
Early in the fight, European nations were able to seize the Russian central bank's foreign exchange assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars, which, according to Borrell, should be utilized as "war compensation" on Moscow's behalf.
Meanwhile, experts warn that such a move might be illegal and, as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated last month, would undoubtedly take time since it would need substantial consultation with allies and the passage of necessary laws.
Late in April, the Biden administration announced that it would seek legal power from the US Congress to acquire confiscated Russian government and oligarch assets and transfer them to Ukraine. Last Thursday, European Council President Charles Michel made a similar request to EU member states, calling for sanctioned funds to be made available, especially for the rebuilding of Ukraine.
Zelensky estimated last week that the cost of restoring the country's damaged infrastructure and housing would be approximately $600 billion, subsequently called for a strategic international support plan "that will be a modern version of the historic Marshall Plan."
Borrell's initiative to transfer Russia's assets to Ukraine "complete lawlessness": Moscow
The initiative voiced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the transfer of Russia's frozen assets to Ukraine is "complete lawlessness," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik on Monday.
"This is complete lawlessness, the destruction of the very foundation of international relations," Grushko said.
If these decisions are made, "they will hit the Europeans themselves, hit the modern financial system, and undermine confidence in Europe, and in general in the West," the diplomat added.