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Sunak backs ’bolder’ action on frozen Russian assets

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:32, 27 February 2024  
Sunak backs ’bolder’ action on frozen Russian assets

Photo: Collected

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged the West on Sunday to be "bolder" in seizing Russian assets and to send interest already accrued on frozen funds to Ukraine.

On the second anniversary of Moscow's invasion, the UK leader said Western allies must go "further" with their sanctions to "shake" Russian President Vladimir Putin's belief "that he can simply wait us out".

"We must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets," Sunak said in an article in The Sunday Times newspaper.

"That starts with taking the billions in interest these assets are collecting and sending it to Ukraine instead, reports BSS/AFP.

"And then, with the G7, we must find lawful ways to seize the assets themselves and get those funds to Ukraine too."

The prime minister's comments follow G7 leaders pledging Saturday to explore "all possible avenues by which immobilised Russian sovereign assets could be made use of to support Ukraine".

The G7 nations' leaders noted in a statement that any actions must be "consistent with our respective legal systems and international law".

The grouping of advanced economies confirmed Russia's already seized sovereign assets will remain frozen "until Russia pays for the damage it caused to Ukraine".

The Western collective also welcomed the European Union last month reaching an initial agreement on a first step towards tapping profits from those funds to help pay for Ukraine's reconstruction.

"We... encourage further steps to enable their use, consistent with applicable contractual obligations and in accordance with applicable laws," the G7 leaders said.

Ukraine needs almost half a trillion dollars to cover the reconstruction costs of Russia's invasion, the World Bank, European Union, United Nations and the Ukrainian government said in a joint report earlier this month.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal has said that the confiscated Russian assets should foot most of the bill.

Kyiv wants the West to unlock around $300 billion of frozen Russian assets to fund the rebuild of its cities, roads, bridges and energy facilities destroyed or damaged by Russia's two-year assault.

Britain has been increasingly vocal in backing its stance, with Foreign Secretary David Cameron insisting at the World Economic Forum last month that there are legal, moral and political justifications for such action.

"We should be prepared to do some innovative thinking about how we use these resources to help Ukraine," he said in reported comments.

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