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The deal was welcomed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, R, despite warnings from Russia. Alamy
Russian assets

EU agrees to use profits from frozen Russian assets to arm Ukraine

The deal has previously been backed by Taoiseach Simon Harris.

PROFITS EARNED FROM Russian assets in EU member states, previously frozen by the European Central Bank, will be used to arm Ukraine and conserved to support rebuilding efforts after the war has concluded.

The decision was made after EU member states today agreed to take part in the much-anticipated scheme which has previously gained support from Taoiseach Simon Harris and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

In March, European leaders agreed to back the deal and left EU diplomats, or ambassadors, to hammer out the details of the scheme, which is said to generate up to €3 billion annually.

It has been reported that Belgium, whose Government currently chair the Council, had been apprehensive to provide Ukraine will all of the profits generated from the assets but gave in to external pressure from European and world leaders earlier this week.

The announcement that the details of the deal had been finalised was confirmed by the Belgian presidency on X, formerly Twitter, earlier today. The Council said the funds will be used to support the recovery of Ukraine and its military defence during the war.

The announcement was later welcomed by von der Leyen who said there was “no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live”.

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Central Bank froze around €200 billion worth of Russian assets which were held in the 27 member states as part of punishing sanctions imposed on Moscow.

There were previous concerns that confiscating the money from the assets and handing it to Ukraine would cause unwelcomed interference with the international markets and the value of the euro.

But this scheme instead targets the interest being paid on the frozen assets – considered legally sound despite warnings of “serious consequences” by the Kremlin.

Under the plan, the majority (90%) of the profits will go towards arming Ukraine while the remainder will be conserved to assist the country with the re-construction costs at a later date.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2024

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