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Moscow will confiscate EU assets if Brussels ‘steals’ frozen Russian funds, says Putin ally

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Russia will confiscate assets belonging to European Union states it deems unfriendly if the bloc “steals” frozen Russian funds in a drive to fund Ukraine, a top ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said on Friday that the EU executive was working on a proposal to pool some of the profits derived from frozen Russian state assets to help Ukraine and its post-war reconstruction.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma, the Russian lower house of parliament, said Moscow would retaliate in a way that would be more costly to the bloc if the EU moved against Russian assets, many of which are held in Belgium.

“A number of European politicians, led by the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, have once again started talking about stealing our country’s frozen funds in order to continue the militarisation of Kyiv,” Volodin, a close Putin ally, said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

“Such a decision would require a symmetrical response from the Russian Federation. In that case, far more assets belonging to unfriendly countries will be confiscated than our frozen funds in Europe,” he said.

Von der Leyen said on Friday that the value of frozen Russian sovereign assets was 211 billion euros ($223.15 billion) and recalled that the bloc had decided that Russia must pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Volodin said EU politicians were considering the move “in an effort to hold on to their jobs and because of the poor financial situation to which they had led their countries.”

Published 29 October 2023, 09:55 IST

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