G7 countries refused to return blocked assets to Russia until reparations are paid to Ukraine

Russian assets in the G7 countries will be frozen until Moscow pays reparations to Ukraine, the group said in a statement issued in Vilnius.

“We reaffirm that, in accordance with our legal systems, Russia’s sovereign assets in our jurisdictions will remain immovable until Russia pays for the damage it has caused to Ukraine”, the document emphasized.

The G7 includes the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. The heads of these states also expressed the need to set up an international mechanism to compensate for the damage to Ukraine and expressed readiness to study options for its development.

In addition, the G7 countries agreed to further tighten sanctions against Russia, monitor their implementation, and support the efforts of such institutions as the International Criminal Court (ICC), which earlier issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.

Since the war began, the US, UK, EU and other countries that joined them have frozen Russian assets located in their jurisdictions. In November, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that it was about 300 billion euros of the Russian Central Bank’s reserves and 19 billion euros belonging to the Russian Federation.

The countries discussed confiscating these funds in order to use them for Ukraine’s reconstruction. However, after months of discussions and consultations with lawyers, the European Commission concluded that it was impossible to seize them because they were covered by state immunity.

Instead, the EC suggested that EU member states and international partners set up a fund to which liquid assets from the frozen reserves could be transferred under management and the profits from the investment of these funds could be used for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

EU leaders supported the idea, but a final decision has not yet been made, as there are still legal and financial issues to be agreed upon, Bloomberg wrote. The Central Bank’s assets are expected to generate about 3bn euros of profit per year.

Earlier, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the UN General Assembly resolution, according to which Russia should pay reparations to Ukraine, an attempt to “complete the looting” of the country’s blocked reserves.

When asked whether Russia was going to participate in the reconstruction of the facilities that were damaged during the war, Peskov said that “large-scale work has already been deployed on the country’s territory”, while outside the country this was out of the question.

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