EU chief Michel wants to use frozen Russian billions to rebuild Ukraine

EU chief Michel wants to use frozen Russian billions to rebuild Ukraine
European Council President Charles Michel pictured during a summit of the European Council in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Benoit Doppagne

European Council President Charles Michel wants frozen Russian assets worth some $300 billion to be used to generate revenue for Ukraine, Michel suggests today in an interview with the business newspaper Financial Times.

The authorities in Kyiv could then use that money to rebuild their country. The President of the Council of EU countries’ heads of government considers this "just and fair." He does stress, however, that it must be legally feasible.

He says European government leaders are actively pushing for the plan. The money in question originally belonged to Russia’s central bank but has been brought into the EU.

The European Commission has long been looking for ways to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, for example, also announced last November that she wanted to “actively manage” the money.

Brussels argues that the billions do remain from their rightful owners. The money can be returned if the sanctions are lifted. However, this will only be decided upon during final peace negotiations, as Russia must contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Michel in Kyiv

Last week, Charles Michel was in Kyiv meeting Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to discuss the issue of delivering tanks to Ukraine.

"I firmly believe that tanks must be delivered. We want to support you because we are aware that the next few weeks may be decisive for what comes next," Michel said in a statement.

Speaking before the Ukrainian Parliament, Council President Michel also reiterated that there can be no free Europe without a free Ukraine.

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