EU unlocks 1.4bn euros from frozen Russian assets for Ukraine

The European Union has agreed to use 1.4 billion euros in profits from frozen Russian assets for arms and other aid for Ukraine. Hungary, which maintains warm relations with Moscow, accuses the bloc of a "shameless" rule breach to bypass its objections.

In May, EU member states decided to use profits from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, in particular with military aid. Hungary, however, has been blocking approval of the measures. The bloc’s legal department has been working on a legal route to unlock the funds without needing approval from Hungary. On Monday, the EU agreed to pay out the first chunk of funds worth 1.4 billion euros, thus bypassing Hungary's objections. 

The 1.4 billion euros in windfall profits would be available in the coming month. Another 1 billion euros is expected by the end of the year. The funds would be used to help Kyiv with air defence, ammunition and support for Ukrainian industry, said EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell. Hungary wasn't given a veto after abstaining from an earlier vote on the issue, but the move angered Budapest.

"By completely ignoring European rules, Hungary was quite simply left out of the decision-making process," Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said. "This is a clear red line. Never before has such shameless disregard for common European rules been shown." 

Monday’s decision will undoubtedly be welcomed by Kyiv. Nevertheless, Hungary is continuing to block the payment of a further 6.6 billion euros intended to help arm Ukraine. The disbursal by the EU of money generated from frozen funds comes after the G7 agreed on a plan to give Ukraine a 50 billion USD loan backed up by the assets.


EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell © BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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