Sunak Urges Western Allies to Seize Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine-British PM

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Sunak Urges Western Allies to Seize Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine-British PM

London, UK – February 25, 2024 – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called on Ukraine’s Western backers to increase efforts towards confiscating frozen Russian assets abroad, arguing it is crucial to aid Kyiv in its ongoing conflict with Moscow.

Marking the two-year anniversary of the war in a Sunday Times article, Sunak warned that Russia remains “the greatest threat to global security.” He emphasized the need for “bolder” measures against the Russian war economy, highlighting the $400 billion impact of existing sanctions but urging further action.

“We must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets,” Sunak declared, proposing to not only utilize the interest generated by these assets but also “find lawful ways to seize the assets themselves and get those funds to Ukraine too.”

This statement comes amidst ongoing debate within the West regarding the frozen Russian assets, estimated at around $300 billion in central bank reserves alone. While the UK and US advocate for outright seizure, the EU remains cautious, preferring to utilize only the interest generated from the funds held at Euroclear. This approach, however, faces criticism for its perceived limitations in aiding Ukraine and undermining the strength of sanctions.

The EU has frozen roughly €196.6 billion of Russian central bank reserves, generating nearly €4.4 billion in income. The legal framework for seizing this interest income is reportedly nearing completion. Additionally, Western nations have frozen billions more belonging to sanctioned Russian individuals and companies.

Moscow vehemently opposes these asset freezes, denouncing them as “thievery” and threatening countermeasures if the West proceeds with complete confiscation.

Sunak’s call reflects the growing pressure on Western allies to strengthen their support for Ukraine and potentially escalate economic pressure on Russia. However, the legal and political complexities of seizing frozen assets remain significant hurdles, highlighting the difficult choices facing the West in navigating this ongoing geopolitical crisis.


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