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Polish FM proposes using frozen Russian assets for Ukraine's defense

18.03.2024 23:00
Poland believes that Russian assets frozen within the European Union should be allocated for Ukraine's defense rather than its reconstruction, Poland's top diplomat Radosław Sikorski said on Monday, following talks with other EU foreign ministers.
Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.
Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Sikorski's stance aligns with the views of other European diplomats, including Germany's foreign minister, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

"Instead of focusing on the future reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, it's better to invest today in anti-aircraft defense, which will prevent the destruction of this infrastructure," said Sikorski. "It seems to me that this is a very sensible position."

The European Union has blocked nearly EUR 200 billion in assets of the Central Bank of Russia. There is a consensus within the EU that Ukraine should receive profits from these immobilized assets, estimated to be in the tens of billions of euros by 2027.

"Personally I would like to go further," said Sikorski. "I believe that the aggressor should pay for the consequences of their aggression. Since we already know that Russia will not get this money until it pays reparations to Ukraine, it would be better to allocate it to preventing the consequences of aggression, for the defense of Ukraine, rather than waiting to use it for its reconstruction."

Sikorski expressed satisfaction with the EU's agreement to allocate EUR 5 billion this year for arming Ukraine, a decision reached by the foreign ministers of the member states in Brussels on Monday.

This move marks a significant enhancement of the European Peace Facility, a fund that previously reimbursed countries supplying military aid to Ukraine.

Now, the fund's operation has been slightly modified to ensure that contributions to Ukraine are refunded, encouraging unanimous support for Ukraine across the EU, with Hungary being the sole exception.

Hungary did acquiesce to a "constructive abstention," allowing for this financial agreement, which includes majority allocations for reimbursement of military aid, alongside EUR 1 billion for joint weapons purchases and EUR 500 million for an EU mission training Ukrainian soldiers, primarily in Poland.

Poland is also advocating for further tightening EU sanctions against Russia, targeting individuals including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, whom Sikorski criticized for justifying the Russian aggression with flimsy excuses and misusing religion to propagate hate, suggesting Kirill ought to be banned from entering the EU.

To date, the EU has adopted 13 packages of sanctions against Russia since the full-scale war began, targeting over 1,700 individuals and 88 companies with travel bans and asset freezes.

These sanctions also address individuals responsible for war crimes in Bucha and Mariupol, missile attacks on civilian targets, the abduction of Ukrainian children, their deportation, and illegal adoptions. The sanctions focus primarily on those in the military, aviation, and shipbuilding sectors.


Source: IAR, PAP