Sanctioned assets should be used to rebuild Ukraine, says European Council president

Russian assets that have been frozen in the EU as part of sanctions against Moscow over the conflict with kyiv should be seized and earmarked for Ukraine’s reconstruction, European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday.

“I am absolutely convinced that this is extremely important not only to freeze assets, but also to enable their confiscation, so that they are available for the reconstruction of the country. I am personally convinced Michel insisted in an interview with the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

He revealed that he had already told the Council’s Legal Service to come up with “some possible ideas to find a legal solution in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, which facilitates and makes possible the confiscation of the assets of people sanctioned by the EU or by other countries in the world. ”

Acting that way must be “a question of fairness, a question of justice” for Brussels, he added.

However, Michel acknowledged that implementing his plan in a “The legal level is not that simple.”

“There are 27 legal systems across the EU and in many EU member states this needs a court decision to make it possible. It takes time, it is a difficult and long process,” He explained.

The ideas of the president of the European Council echoed those previously expressed by Washington. In late April, the White House presented a set of “comprehensive proposals” allegedly intended to hold Russians “oligarchs” responsible for the events in Ukraine. The proposals included “establish a simplified administrative authority” that it would be able to confiscate sanctioned assets and transfer them to kyiv for “remediate the damage of Russian aggression”.

Moscow denounced those American plans as “nothing more than the simple expropriation of private property that [the US] seeks to justify falsely”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would become “a very dangerous precedent”, demonstration “How fragile have all the universally accepted foundations become” in the field of private property rights, economics and politics.

The United States, the European Union and some other countries have imposed several rounds of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow for its ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The foreign assets of the Russian Central Bank and a number of other entities and entrepreneurs were frozen, Russia was effectively cut off from dollar- and euro-dominated money markets, and a wide range of foreign companies ceased dealings with the country.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.

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