Using Sanctioned Russian Assets to Rebuild Ukraine Will Not Be Easy

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Series Details Number 145
Publication Date August/September 2022
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European governments would increase the risk of alienating countries susceptible to Russian and Chinese influence if they chose to use Moscow’s foreign reserves to rebuild Ukraine without a watertight legal argument (like an international court ruling) to do so. If Europe chose to confiscate Russia’s foreign reserves, at a minimum, it would need to lay out clear and predictable principles, to try to assure other countries that their own foreign reserves would only ever be seized in response to similarly severe breaches of international norms.  Russian assets will not suffice to pay for the entirety of Ukraine’s reconstruction. Confiscation will be slow and, at times, legally problematic. While they consider whether and how to liquidate sanctioned Russian assets, European leaders should also come up with a narrative to explain to European taxpayers why it is in their long-term interest to help finance Ukraine’s reconstruction.

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ESO Records
European Commission: COM (2022) 233: Ukraine Relief and Reconstruction
OJ: L 186, Pages 1-7: Decision (EU) 2022/1201 providing exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine

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