Ukraine urges West to transfer frozen Russian assets

Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal on Monday urged the West to hand over 300 billion euros in frozen Russian assets to Kiev to prevent elections in allied countries from influencing support for Ukraine in the face of Moscow's invasion.

Shmyhal's call comes at a time when Kiev is concerned about the erosion of Western military and financial aid caused by internal disagreements in the United States and the European Union.

"Aid from our partners is an extremely important tool, but we need predictability and stability, regardless of time, regardless of political fluctuations and electoral cycles that take place in the world," Shmyhal told a news conference.

Uncertainty over continuation of aid

With dozens of elections scheduled for this year in countries allied to Kiev, including the United States, its main backer, the uncertainty over the continuation of aid is a major concern, Shmyhal said.

The confiscation of Russian assets "should become a reliable source of support for our state and for financing our reconstruction", he said.

While the EU finally released its 50-billion-euro aid package in early February, a 60-billion-dollar US package has been blocked for months in Congress by Republicans in the run-up to November's presidential election.

300 billion euros in assets

Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union and the G7 countries have frozen some 300 billion euros in assets of the Russian central bank, according to the EU. Their transfer to Ukraine is far from complete, however, because of legal and geopolitical obstacles, according to the West.

But the Europeans are preparing to transfer the interest and profits generated by Russian assets to Kiev, with Belgium planning to pay 1.7 billion euros to Ukraine this year.

"Compared to the 200 billion euros frozen in Belgian accounts, this is an insignificant amount," said Shmyhal.

The confiscation of all frozen Russian assets "interests us for two reasons: one, because we need it, and two, because it is a punishment for the Russian aggressor" who "must pay" for its invasion of Ukraine, he added.


Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal © CLODAGH KILCOYNE / POOL / AFP

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