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Some EU countries to not transfer Russian assets for arming Ukraine

Some EU countries to not transfer Russian assets for arming Ukraine European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Parts of the European Union may backpedal on a plan to utilize profits from Russia's frozen assets to purchase arms for Ukraine, according to Politico.

The proposal emerged ahead of a meeting of the EU's 27 envoys on Wednesday, May 8, where Belgium, presiding over the Council, hopes to strike a deal on unlocking funding for Ukraine.

According to six EU diplomats, countries opposed to military aid to Kyiv may settle for providing humanitarian assistance instead.

The outlet notes this as a final attempt to sway non-NATO EU countries, such as Austria, Malta, Cyprus, and Ireland, to their side. Other staunch critics of the EU's military strategy in Ukraine, like Hungary and Slovakia, also endorse this caution.

However, rejecting the plan to arm Ukraine with Russian assets won't alleviate all concerns. EU countries also part of the G7 — Germany, France, and Italy — are least enthusiastic about the proposal due to legal and financial risks, said one EU diplomat. There are fears these countries may not support the deal on Wednesday.

If approved, the deal would pave the way for the EU to transfer €2.5 to €3 billion by July to support Ukraine's defense against Russian aggression.

Utilizing Russian assets

Currently, the West has frozen around $300 billion of Russian assets. The asset confiscation program is practically shelved as such actions could be illegal. Meanwhile, there's consideration for using the profits or interest from these assets to support Ukraine.

A final decision will be made at the G7 summit in Italy in June.

Katarina Mathernova, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, believes Ukraine will be able to tap into Western-frozen Russian assets by the end of 2024.