EU to return €300Bln to Russia if partake in Ukraine reconstruction
The European Commission indicates that it is ready to give back to Russia some of its frozen assets in exchange for help in reconstructing Ukraine.
European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said the EU will use frozen Russian funds as a guarantee and return 300 billion euros ($299 billion) in frozen Russian assets if Moscow voluntarily decides to partake in the restoration of Ukraine.
The official stated that 300 billion euros would not be sufficient to reconstruct Ukraine when speaking to the German media group Funke. However, he did not completely rule out the creation of such a fund.
It is worth noting that the EU had frozen assets for not only Russian institutions, but also Russian nationals, as part of its anti-Russia sanctions.
The European Council said last week that it had requested recommendations from the European Commission on means of using Russian assets to help in the restoration of Ukraine.
Using Russian funds to help Ukraine 'difficult legal question': Scholz
The West using frozen Russian assets to help with Ukraine's reconstruction is a complex legal issue that will require the European Union to do a lot of work before a decision is reached, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on October 25.
"It is a very difficult legal question. And so a lot of work has to be done. All of us will have to go through these questions; what is feasible, what is not feasible if you are sticking to the rule of law?" Scholz said, highlighting that Brussels was working on trying to understand the issue at hand.
"This is why the Commission is working hard to understand the problem [of using frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine] and find an idea about how to act and what to do," he added on the sidelines of the International Expert Conference on the Recovery, Reconstruction, and Modernization of Ukraine in Berlin.
The EU is now at the beginning of "something unprecedented", Scholz underlined, noting that he did not expect the 27-nation bloc to reach a decision on the matter anytime soon.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, on the other hand, said Brussels was already working on the issue and had already created a special group that was mulling the possibility of using Russian assets to provide assistance to Ukraine.
Freezing of Russian assets theft - Russian official
In June, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov deemed the freeze of the Russian assets to be one of the greatest thefts in history.
Following the start of the war in Ukraine, Western countries imposed various forms of sanctions on Russia from a ban on Russian gold to removing its banks from the international SWIFT monetary system, although the decision to freeze around half of Russia's foreign assets - nearly $300 billion - has been deemed a step too far by many political leaders and analysts.
"The freeze of the Russian assets is one of the greatest thefts in history. The paradox is that perpetrators of this crime are those who have earlier assumed responsibility for maintaining the global economic architecture," Venediktov said.
The Russian official also warned that the West's decision could lead to the collapse of the international Bretton Woods system of monetary management.
Read more: Ukraine's external financing needs could be $5Bln monthly in 2023: IMF