World, Economy, Europe

EU Commission chief suggests using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine

Ursula von der Leyen reaffirms EU’s support to help Ukraine 'rise from the ashes'

Agnes Szucs   | 24.05.2022
EU Commission chief suggests using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R), Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab (L)

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Frozen Russian assets should be used for Ukraine’s reconstruction, the EU Commission chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU “should leave no stone unturned” for Ukraine’s reconstruction, “including if possible, the Russian assets that we have frozen.”

According to von der Leyen, Russia is “treating millions of people not as human beings but as faceless populations to be moved or controlled or set as a buffer between military forces, trying to trample the aspirations of an entire nation with tanks.”

This “aggression must be a strategic failure,” she said, stressing that “Ukraine must win this war.”

She promised that the EU and international partners “will hand in hand help Ukraine rise from the ashes”, even if it would require “colossal work.”

Von der Leyen also accused Russia of using energy supplies and food security as global weapons.

Making a comparison between Soviet leader Josep Stalin’s decisions to allegedly starve Ukrainians in 1930s, she said today “Kremlin's army is confiscating grain stocks and machinery” and “Russian artillery is bombarding grain warehouses across Ukraine.”

Following the proposal of the European Commission, the EU will create an international donation platform, jointly managed by the EU executive body and Ukraine, that will combine reform and investment, she said.

The EU has allocated €2 billion ($ 2.14 billion) in military aid to Ukraine and mobilized more than €4 billion in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid, and support to EU countries hosting refugees from Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

It has also adopted five sets of sanctions against Russia, targeting individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as banning the export of luxury goods and coal imports, and excluding Russian and Belarusian banks from using the SWIFT international payment system.

Von der Leyen announced last week an extra €9 billion macro-financial assistance package for Ukraine which is expected to be endorsed by EU leaders at next week’s summit.

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