Lithuanian president urges decisions on frozen Russian assets

  • 2024-03-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Some EU leaders are paying too much attention to legal nuances, which prevents the bloc from making urgent decisions on the use of frozen Russian assets for Ukraine's needs, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said in Brussels on Thursday. 

"Today, given what is happening in Ukraine and how long we have been stuck on this issue without any progress, further delay is simply unacceptable," he told reporters at the start of the European Council's meeting. 

The European Commission has tabled a proposal to use revenue from Russia's frozen assets, but there are objections regarding the use of the assets themselves for Ukraine's needs, Nauseda said.

"We are in favor of a more ambitious goal, which is that the assets themselves have to be included and used not only for the reconstruction of Ukraine, but also for military purposes," he said.

However, some leaders are still skeptical about using Russia's frozen assets for Ukraine's needs, according to Nauseda.

"Some colleagues are looking very carefully and with high precision at the legal aspect of the matter. If there were lawsuits or legal disputes later on, (they want) everything to be arranged in such a way that the European Union or similarly minded states would (...) not lose those legal disputes," the president said. 

"Talking about legal precision at a time when there is blatant unlawfulness and people are being killed in Ukraine is quite difficult. We will certainly take efforts to create that political impetus so that lawyers make decisions faster," he added.

The European Commission proposes to use revenue from Russia's frozen assets to arm Ukraine.

Under the proposal, 90 percent of the money would go to a fund used to cover the cost of weapons for Ukraine.

The other 10 percent would be transferred to the EU's budget to be used to help increase the capacity of Ukraine's own defense industry.