EU approves €1.4 billion in Russian asset profits for Ukraine aid

Western nations have frozen approximately $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets since the onset of the conflict, with about $280 billion immobilized within the EU.

The European Union has greenlit the transfer of €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in profits from frozen Russian assets to provide military assistance to Ukraine. The announcement was made by Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, following a meeting of EU Council foreign ministers.

This decision marks a new phase in the West’s economic response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Western nations have frozen approximately $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets since the onset of the conflict, with about $280 billion immobilized within the EU.

Borrell explained that the ministers today agreed on the legal framework for the allocation of the windfall profits from immobile Russian assets to the European peace facility. He emphasized that it’s not the assets themselves, but the profits generated from these frozen assets that will be utilized.

The EU plans to make the initial €1.4 billion available over the next month, with an additional €1 billion expected by the end of the year. According to Borrell, these funds will be directed toward purchasing air defence systems and ammunition for Ukraine, as well as supporting the country’s defence industry.

This move represents a novel approach to leveraging frozen assets to provide tangible support in an ongoing conflict. It also highlights the EU’s continued commitment to supporting Ukraine’s defence efforts against Russian aggression.

The decision is likely to draw criticism from Moscow, which has consistently opposed the freezing of its assets and any attempts to use them for Ukraine’s benefit. It may also raise legal and ethical questions about the use of profits from frozen assets in international conflicts.

As this policy is implemented, it will be crucial to monitor its impact on Ukraine’s military capabilities, as well as any potential diplomatic or economic repercussions in the broader context of EU-Russia relations.