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Russian assets confiscation: Belgium seeks collective decision from western countries

Russian assets confiscation: Belgium seeks collective decision from western countries Photo: Russian assets in the West will be confiscated (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Western countries should make a collective decision to confiscate frozen Russian assets, most of which are stored in the Brussels-based Euroclear settlement center, according to Belgian Ambassador to the United States Jean-Arthur Regibeau.

"Someone has to pay for all the damages to Ukraine and the obvious responsible is Russia," Regibeau tells reporters.

He also notes that we could face the risk of the global financial system splitting into two different parts. One will be the West, and the other will be the other side. "Would that have long-term consequences on the financial structure of the world? You can see arguments on both sides. Right now it’s an ongoing discussion," the Ambassador says.

The country's opinion is of great importance: two-thirds of the frozen assets are stored in the Brussels-based Euroclear settlement center.

"We understand we have a special responsibility," Regibeau says, referring to the fact that most of the assets are in Belgium. "But we also believe that for such an issue, Belgium should not be deciding alone."

Discussions in EU and U.S.

Discussions in the EU are currently focused on the introduction of a windfall profits tax on frozen assets of the Russian central bank. But even this smaller step is moving slowly, as some member states and the European Central Bank are concerned about the potential impact this move could have on the stability of the euro.

This week, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to vote on a bill that would allow President Joe Biden to confiscate assets and use them to finance Ukraine's recovery.

A similar law has already been passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and representatives of the Biden administration are actively engaging with European counterparts on whether the G7 countries should immediately confiscate assets rather than simply leave them frozen or tax windfall profits earned from their management.

Transfer of Russian assets to Ukraine

Earlier it became known that the United States proposed to the G7 countries to confiscate $300 billion of frozen Russian assets in favor of Ukraine. The plan is to be approved by the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.