11:43 28 Feb 2024

EU should consider using frozen Russian asset profits for Ukraine's army – Von der Leyen

Photo: Facebook / European Commission

The European Union should consider using profits from frozen Russian assets to benefit Ukraine, including through purchasing military equipment. 

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, made this statement at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, February 28, The Guardian reports.

Von der Leyen called on the EU to do more in defense policy, stating, "It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets to jointly purchase military equipment for Ukraine."

She stressed that "there could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live."

In her speech, von der Leyen also presented a new European strategy for industrial protection, which her commission will unveil in the coming weeks. She stated that one of its main goals would be prioritizing joint procurements.

"Europe must strive to develop and produce the next generation of winning operational forces and assets," she said.

The President of the European Commission highlighted that "this means turbocharging our defense-industrial capacities over the next five years."

Reuters also reported that von der Leyen said the threat of war to the EU "may not be inevitable, but it is not impossible."

"The risks of war should not be overstated, but we should be prepared for them, and this begins with the urgent need for replenishment, enhancement, and modernization of the armed forces of member states," she said.

Von der Leyen said that Europe's increased defense efforts would not diminish the need for the NATO alliance.

"In fact, a more sovereign Europe, especially in defense matters, is vital for strengthening NATO," von der Leyen said.

About confiscated Russian assets for Ukraine

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested nearly ₴190 billion worth of assets of Russian businessmen who financed the war during 2022-2023 and as of early August. 

Moreover, Ukraine's partners are rushing to agree on a plan to confiscate $300 billion of frozen Russian assets. The United States has proposed to the "Group of Seven" working groups to study how to do this.

On February 24, the Group of Seven (G7) countries released a statement confirming that they would keep Russian assets frozen in their jurisdictions until the end of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

Also, the United States has, for the first time in history, transferred confiscated Russian assets to Estonia, which will be used to support Ukraine.

The European Council approved a resolution paving the way for using profits from frozen Russian assets for Ukraine.

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