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Estonian Parliament passes law to seize Russian assets for Ukraine

Estonian Parliament passes law to seize Russian assets for Ukraine Archival photo: Estonia has passed a law that will allow the seizure of Russian assets (Getty Images)
Author: Daryna Vialko

On May 15, the Estonian parliament passed a law that will allow the assets of sanctioned Russian individuals to be seized in favor of Ukraine, according to the chairman of the Constitutional Commission of the Estonian Parliament, Hendrik Johannes Terras.

He explained that establishing legal regulations for the use of frozen assets had proved to be a challenging task, undertaken by a number of allied states and international organizations. But Estonia takes on a pioneering role in this process.

“Russia is an aggressor state. Compensation for the damage it caused during the hostilities should not fall on the shoulders of Ukraine and its allies,” he said.

Terras says that assets that have already been frozen under international sanctions could be used to ensure liability for compensating Ukraine for the damage caused during the war.

He clarified that the adopted law proposes a mechanism that provides for liability for individuals and businesses directly involved in the aggression against Ukraine.

How it will work

The decision to use the property as an advance payment for damages is made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the course of administrative proceedings.

To make a decision on using the property as an advance payment for compensation, it is necessary to prove the existence of damage that was caused during the unlawful activities and which must be compensated in accordance with international law.

Also, the affected foreign state must make a corresponding demand to the foreign state that caused the damage, which the state that caused the damage failed to fulfill within a reasonable time.

“Estonia and the requesting state must agree on the terms of use of the property as an advance payment for compensation, as well as conditions for transferring the right to claim to the owner of the property," the material states.

Additionally, there must be sufficient evidence of a connection between the owner of the property and the unlawful act.

The use of frozen Russian assets

After the start of the war, Western countries froze the assets of the Russian Central Bank, with a total value of about $300 billion. However, Western countries are not rushing with confiscation and propose to use only the revenue from Russian assets.

Recently, it was reported that the Belgian depository Euroclear will make a decision to confiscate the frozen assets of the Russian Federation in favor of Ukraine in the coming weeks.