Russia slams EU proposal of structure to manage frozen assets as theft
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calls for creating a structure to manage and invest Russian frozen funds, which Russia slammed as stealing.
On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested establishing a "structure" in order to manage Russian frozen assets and use them to fund Ukraine.
"In the short term, we could create, with our partners, a structure to manage these funds [frozen assets] and invest them," von der Leyen said on Twitter.
Following the statement, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko accused the Commission of trying to loot Russian assets "by hook or by crook."
"All this feverish activity of the European Commission is aimed at finding ways by hook or by crook to 'legitimize' the illegal sanctions adopted against our country and stealing assets belonging to Russian individuals and legal entities," Grushko told Sputnik.
Earlier this month, von der Leyen proposed a new financial aid package worth 18 billion euros ($17.8 billion) for Ukraine to cover the country's financial needs for 2023.
The support would be in the form of highly concessional long-term loans, the Commission said, adding that it will cover the interest costs and work will be carried out to support Ukraine’s reforms and its path toward EU membership.
Read more: Ukraine's external financing needs could be $5Bln monthly in 2023: IMF
Last October, 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 European Council previously said it had requested recommendations from the European Commission on means of using Russian assets to help in the restoration of Ukraine.
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.
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.
Read more: Russia restricts assets of "unfriendly" states
In June, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov deemed the freeze of 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 Russian official also warned that the West's decision could lead to the collapse of the international Bretton Woods system of monetary management.
It is worth noting that the EU had frozen assets not only for Russian institutions but also for Russian nationals, as part of its anti-Russia sanctions.