(Observer Network News) On November 30, local time, European Commission President von der Leyen issued a statement stating that the EU has frozen 300 billion euros in the reserves of the Russian Central Bank. In addition, it has also frozen 19 billion euros in funds of Russian oligarchs.
She said the move was to “make up” economically for the damage caused by Russia. Von der Leyen said that the losses suffered by Ukraine are estimated at 600 billion euros, and Russia needs to compensate Ukraine for its losses and bear the cost of rebuilding Ukraine.
She suggested creating an agency to manage the funds and invest them, with the proceeds used to compensate Ukraine for its losses and pay for rebuilding the country.
Von der Leyen also stated in the statement that it is proposed to establish a specialized court supported by the United Nations to investigate and prosecute Russia’s “crime of aggression.”
According to Reuters, the European Union, the United States and other Western countries have been debating for months how to legally seize Russian assets abroad, including state and private assets frozen by sanctions.
However, Reuters also pointed out that the laws of most EU member states stipulate that it is only possible to legally confiscate frozen assets if the criminal is convicted. In addition, the assets of most blacklisted Russian citizens are difficult to confiscate or even freeze because they are registered as belonging to family members or nominal persons of these individuals.
Russia said freezing its central bank’s reserves and citizens’ assets was illegal, Reuters reported. Russia strongly condemned the freezing of the country’s foreign exchange reserves and said it would oppose any attempt to use the reserves for other purposes.
Russian President’s Press Secretary Spokesman Peskov said on October 31, “This is an act of international theft that violates all rules.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova also said that the freezing of Russian assets in Europe is a kind of “theft”. She noted that this phenomenon has existed for years, with the EU targeting not only private money but also Russian state assets.