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The EU is looking at seizing $330 billion in frozen Russian assets and investing them — with any profits going to Ukraine

Markets Insider 11/30/2022 gglover@insider.com (George Glover)
The EU could seize and reinvest $330 billion in frozen Russian assets, Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday. Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images © Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images The EU could seize and reinvest $330 billion in frozen Russian assets, Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday. Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images
  • The European Union proposed on Wednesday a move to seize and reinvest Russian assets.
  • The trading bloc plans to give any profits from such investments to Ukraine.
  • It has already blocked around $330 billion in Russian money, president Ursula von der Leyen said.

The European Union is looking at seizing and reinvesting frozen Russian assets – and then using the profits made on any trades to help to rebuild war-torn Ukraine.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the trading bloc had already blocked about 319 billion euros ($330 billion) that could be reinvested.

"We have the means to make Russia pay," she said in a statement. "We have blocked 300 billion euros of the Russian central bank reserves and we have frozen 19 billion euros of Russian oligarchs' money."

"In the short term, we could create, with our partners, a structure to manage these funds and invest them," von der Leyen added. "We would then use the proceeds for Ukraine."

Russia's ongoing war has caused around 600 billion euros worth of damage to Ukraine since February, according to the European Commission.

Ukraine has previously called on the trading bloc to use confiscated Russian money to fund the country's rebuilding efforts. Prime minister Denys Shmyhal said in October that the trading bloc could eventually be able to seize and reinvest around $500 billion in frozen assets.

EU member states have echoed those calls to use Russian money to help Ukraine.

"There is a huge pot of gold to be taken and dedicated for Ukraine's reconstruction, which are the assets of the Russian Federation and Russian oligarchs," Poland prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last month.

Earlier this year, Russia had said that any move to seize its assets would be "outright theft".

President von der Leyen also backed the United Nations' proposal to establish a special court to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

"Russia must pay for its horrific crimes, including for its crime of aggression against a sovereign state," she said. "This is why, while continuing to support the International Criminal Court, we are proposing to set up a specialized court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute Russia's crime of aggression."

Read more: Moscow is now the fourth largest offshore trading hub for the Chinese yuan, as sanctions spur Russia's dash to an alternative currency

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