EU Can ‘Transfer’ Russia’s Frozen Billions to Compensate Ukraine: Official


Above, European Union Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders (far right) is seen on May 25 in Brussels. Reynders said Saturday that money from frozen Russian assets might be used to compensate Ukraine.PHOTO BY THIERRY MONASSE/GETTY IMAGES

European Union (EU) Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Saturday that money from frozen Russian assets might be used to compensate Ukraine amid the invasion of the Eastern European country.

Reynders told German media group Funke that the EU froze $16.9 billion (17 billion euros) worth of Russian assets, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported. The figure increased from the $13.7 billion (13.8 billion euros) worth of frozen assets that the commissioner announced in July. Reynders at the time said that the EU froze assets that belonged to Russian oligarchs and “other entities” in five countries.

“So far, the assets of 90 people have been frozen, more than 17 billion euros in seven member states, including 2.2 billion euros in Germany,” he said on Saturday, according to AFP. “If it is criminal money confiscated by the EU, it is possible to transfer it to a compensation fund for Ukraine.”

With some Ukrainian officials calling for the money to be used to rebuild Ukraine after the mass destruction that was caused by Russia, Reynders said on Saturday that “this amount is far from being sufficient to finance reconstruction.”

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested a similar idea during a July press conference in Strasbourg, France, when she said that they are working on a “legal framework” that would allow them to use the frozen assets to rebuild Ukraine.

“I think it is a matter of justice to consider this issue,” she said.

Parts of the country have already seen significant damage from Russia’s invasion, with the City Council in Mariupol, announcing at the time that preliminary estimates indicate restoration could cost $10 billion for that city alone.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Reynders said that the $298.9 million (300 billion euros) that the EU froze from the Russian Central Bank could be used as a “guarantee” until Moscow voluntarily takes part in rebuilding its Eastern European neighbor.

“From my point of view, it is at least possible to keep these 300 billion euros as a guarantee until Russia voluntarily participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,” he added.

In a separate interview with Hamburger Abendblatt, Reynders said that he is “reasonably sure” that Russians suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine would be called to trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) this year, according to Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty on Saturday.

“If prosecutors want to start at the highest level, let them do it,” he said.

European countries and the United States have launched a number of sanctions against Russia in late February in response to the war in Ukraine. Sanctions were launched against the country’s energy market in an effort to weaken the Kremlin’s economy.

Since 2014, the year Moscow annexed Crimea, over 1,200 people, including oligarchs and Russian President Vladimir Putin, have had their assets frozen. They were also banned from entering the EU, according to AFP.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign affairs ministry for comment.


  1. “From my point of view, it is at least possible to keep these 300 billion euros as a guarantee until Russia voluntarily participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,”

    And, I’ve got a bridge for sale.

    After months of talk and discussions in various countries about handing seized ruskie assets over to Ukraine, not a penny has found its way to the country, as far as I’m aware of.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yeah, I don’t get that either. Why would they try to bait the Moskali when estimates show they will owe more than a trillion dollars? What is likely to happen is the Kremlinals will get the 300 billion after they “promise” to rebuild Ukraine…ruSSian style. Since everything they do is backwards that will mean more death and destruction while the Eurocrats feign shock.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. Well, I suppose I should have expected they’d just keep the money instead. Greed is a pretty strong corrupter.

    Also, russia claims that it was the British who blew up the nord stream pipeline. But of course, there’s still no solid evidence of who did it, so they’re facing strong rebukes. For all we know, russia blew up their own pipeline, so they could use it as an excuse for refusing to send the gas. Personally, I think the world needs to cut itself off from russia until they eliminate the current iteration of the kremlin. Let their economy continue collapsing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I have a very difficult time to think of a rock solid reason why the UK would want to go through the trouble and effort to destroy a pipeline that is already dead in the water.

      Liked by 3 people

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