Lithuanian finmin expects EU decision on frozen Russian assets for Ukraine in February

  • 2024-01-16
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Finance Minister Gintare Skaiste expects the European Union to decide on ways to identify, separate and use profits from frozen Russian assets in the West for Ukrainian purposes by the end of February.

"We welcome the proposal made by the European Commission about using the extraordinary profits of Russian frozen assets, but at the same time we must understand that it is the first step, but not the last one. We need to make this decision quite fast because this decision will not be implemented retroactively, this means that every day counts," the minister told reported in Brussels after an ECOFIN meeting.

"The sooner we make a decision, the more money will be channeled to Ukraine. We hope to reach this decision before the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine, by the end of February," the minister added.

Moreover, as the US and Canada are discussing the possible confiscation of frozen Russian assets for Ukraine's needs, Skaiste stresses that the EU cannot remain an observer and must demonstrate leadership.

"We need to participate actively, also within the G7 format, and we should be open to also find legal ways to seize the assets of Russia and to give it to Ukraine to reconstruct the country after the war. Europe should be an active participant in this process and not only look what others are doing. The war is also here in Europe and the biggest share of frozen assets also is in Europe, so we must be active participants of this process," the finance minister said.

In her words, it is important to reach a swift agreement on a multi-annual 50 billion euro package to support Ukraine, and if this could not be achieved soon because of Hungary's position, she said, there needed to be an alternative solution that would allow the remaining 26 EU countries to provide urgent support to Ukraine.

According to the World Bank, Ukraine's post-war reconstruction could require at least 411 billion US dollars (375.5 billion euros).