AP: The West is discussing the lifting of sanctions on Russian businessmen in exchange for assistance to Ukraine The head of the Canadian Ministry of Finance, after conversations with “Russian oligarchs”, suggested that the G7 countries lift sanctions from them in exchange for transferring money for the restoration of Ukraine, AP reports. Western countries are interested in the idea, they know about it in Kyiv
Western countries are considering the idea of giving Russian businessmen the opportunity to “pay off” from sanctions in exchange for the fact that their funds will be used to restore Ukraine, the Associated Press (AP) reports, citing sources.
According to the agency, a similar initiative was made by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, at a meeting of representatives of the G7 countries. (G7: Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan and the US) last week. According to the interlocutors of the agency, Freeland raised this issue after discussing with the “Russian oligarchs”: the Canadian minister has known some of them since her journalistic work in Moscow (she headed the Moscow bureau of the Financial Times for several years).
The Ukrainian side is aware of these discussions, one of the interlocutors told AP. According to him, the West is interested in seeing “prominent Russian oligarchs dissociate themselves from [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.” and at the same time provided funding for Ukraine.
The source of the agency stressed that while it is only an idea, no decisions have been made. But, according to him, Western countries are interested in such an opportunity. As noted by AP, the proposal could help remove legal obstacles for the authorities in countries like Germany, where the procedure for confiscation of frozen assets is very difficult. According to sources, if Russian businessmen voluntarily give up part of their property abroad, this will simplify the task.
The European Union, the United States, Britain and other states began to impose sanctions against Russia, including against businessmen, due to military operation in Ukraine. According to the European Commission, cited by AP, to date, the assets of Russians in the EU have been frozen for almost €10 billion ($10.7 billion).
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In early May, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that $600 billion would be needed to restore the country after the Russian military operation. Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmygal also mentioned this amount. According to him, so much will be needed to restore the economy and infrastructure in the long term. The Ukrainian leader proposed concluding a multilateral international treaty providing for the confiscation and transfer of Russian assets abroad in favor of those who “suffered from the actions of the Russian army.”
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the EU is looking for ways to use the assets of Russians frozen under the sanctions to restore Ukraine. In turn, US President Joe Biden proposed to approve a comprehensive package of laws that provide for the use of confiscated assets of Russian businessmen to assist Ukraine. Earlier, the US House of Representatives passed a law allowing seized Russian assets to be used for these purposes: their total value is estimated at $2 million.
In the Kremlin, the seizure of assets of Russian businessmen was compared to a robbery in the Wild West. According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the country's entrepreneurs honestly earned what they confiscated due to sanctions, they are not oligarchs.
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