EU to Seize Interest from Frozen Russian Assets Next Week: Borrell

The European Union intends to use €2.5 billion in interest earned from frozen Russian assets, according to the bloc’s top diplomat.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has stated that the EU will receive the first portion of revenue generated from frozen Russian central bank assets within a few days. The funds will subsequently be sent to Ukraine.

Western countries, including the EU, froze around $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds shortly after the conflict in Ukraine began. While the EU has refrained from outright seizure due to legal concerns, EU diplomats agreed in principle in May to use the interest earned on these funds. However, this plan has faced strong opposition from Hungary, a vocal critic of Western policy towards Russia.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated earlier this month that “sending funds that had essentially been stolen from Russia to the military adventures of the Kiev regime and its sponsors is criminal and cynical and another blow to international law,” adding that Moscow would retaliate.

Borrell, speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, announced that the first batch of money from the assets would arrive “next week,” adding that the second tranche would come “some months later.”

According to Borrell, the total amount of interest is now €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion). Although he did not specify the size of the first tranche, Politico reported earlier that the EU plans to channel up to €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) to Ukraine.

Borrell also noted that “we have a legal procedure in order to avoid any kind of blockage” to bypass potential opposition from an unnamed EU member, adding that officials would discuss the proposal in the coming hours.

When asked about the specifics of the mechanism, Borrell explained that the EU Treaty “provides legal ways in order to advance even if some member-states do not want to participate.” He also emphasized that the EU had already decided to use the proceeds from the Russian assets and that Monday’s meeting is focused on deliberating the precise method to be employed.