Borrell proposes using frozen Russian money to rebuild Ukraine

The EU Foreign Affairs representative asked why it could be done with Afghanistan and not with Russia. Moscow said the idea was “illegal” and would impose “the law of the jungle” on the financial system.

In an interview with Financial Timesthe High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, raised this Monday (05.09.2022) the possibility of confiscating Russia’s reserves frozen by the bloc to rebuild Ukraine after the war, an idea Moscow was quick to dismiss as “illegal.”

“This is one of the most important political questions on the table: who is going to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine?” the also vice-president of the European Commission told the newspaper. “I would be very much in favor (of using the reserves) because it makes a lot of sense. We have the money in our pockets and someone would have to explain to me why it can be done with Afghan money, but not with Russian money,” he argues.

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With the mention of the Asian country, the Spanish diplomat alluded to the fact that the United States government assumed control of some 3,500 million dollars in frozen assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan in order to be able to compensate the victims of terrorism and pay the humanitarian aid for the country; in his opinion, the same could be done in the case of Russia.

Financial Times recalls that Russia quantified in March at 300,000 million dollars its gold and currency reserves frozen by allied countries against the Kremlin, through multiple sanctions for its invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The newspaper adds that Brussels is already evaluating this scenario, but at the same time mentions that the issue raises a series of legal difficulties.

For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that a measure such as the one proposed by Borrell would be illegal and would entail “the destruction of the very foundations of international relations.” According to Grushko, “these decisions, if taken, will affect the Europeans themselves, the financial system and will undermine confidence in Europe and in the West in general. It would be complete anarchy or, rather, the law of the jungle.”

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DZC (EFE, Reuters)

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