Ukrainian government pushes UN partners to confiscate Russian assets for reconstruction of Ukraine

22 September, 08:57 PM
Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal speaks with Ukrainian journalists in New York on Sept. 22. (Photo:Veronika Melkozerova)

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal speaks with Ukrainian journalists in New York on Sept. 22. (Photo:Veronika Melkozerova)

The full-scale Russian war against Ukraine has already destroyed Ukraine's infrastructure, energy facilities, schools, hospitals, and private property, leaving thousands of Ukrainians homeless. The invasion has already cost $340 billion in damages to Ukraine as of September.

One idea the Ukrainian government has raised for the restoration of the country is to receive an estimated $300-$500 billion in Russian assets frozen in different countries, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a press conference at Ukraine Mission to United Nations in New York on Sept. 22. 

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Earlier, UK newspaper the Guardian reported that Ukraine has been lobbying its allies in the UN to clear a legal path for the extraction of Russian assets arrested overseas. However, most of the countries that have frozen Russian assets after the Kremlin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February have no legal mechanism that would allow them to pass these funds on to Ukraine.

Shmyhal confirmed to NV that during all of his meetings in New York, not only at United Nations, Ukraine has been talking about the need for an immediate start of the rebuilding process.

“We need immediate recovery to survive during this winter period," he said.

"We need to conduct a rapid restoration during wartime and post-war. Of course, it will cost hundreds of billions of dollars according to the estimates of partners and the World Bank. Of course, the state will not take this money out of its pocket from the budget. And the taxpayers of our partners from the United States and the European Union should not finance the restoration.”

According to the prime minister, Ukraine has consistently insisted that Russia, the aggressor in this war, be liable for covering Ukraine's damages.

Canada, at least, has already adopted legislation that may allow the confiscation of Russian state and private assets in favor of Ukraine.

Shmyhal encouraged other partners of Ukraine to impose similar legislation.

“If imposed, such legislation can become a new element of global security in the world,” Shmyhal said.

"This way the aggressor will understand he will pay for his aggression.”

If Russians do not agree to give their assets to Ukraine voluntarily in the form of reparations, other countries should confiscate them in favor of Ukraine's post-war recovery, the prime minister added.

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