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(Bloomberg) — European Union officials are discussing the possibility of using the assets of sanctioned Russian magnates to help fund Ukraine’s war reparations, according to three people familiar with the case.

The idea is at a very early stage and no decision has been made yet, the people said. One possibility would be to use the assets to fund war reparations, the people added. Any decision on how to handle the assets should ultimately be taken by the Member States.

“At the moment the assets are only frozen,” said Eric Mamer, spokesman for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, when asked for comment. “The president has not asked to investigate this.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, the EU has sanctioned dozens of Russian tycoons, including some of the country’s richest billionaires. Following the adoption of the sanctions, several member states have immobilized assets such as superyachts, private jets and property. Italy alone has frozen about 780 million euros ($862 million) in assets, government publications show.

The current sanctions regime makes it possible to freeze assets and the EU announced on Thursday that it has set up a “Freeze and Seize” task force to share information between member states to better implement the measures.

According to a statement released by the bloc’s executive to announce the initiative, the task force aims to “go one step further: it will coordinate member states’ actions to seize and, where required by national law, to confiscate assets of the listed goods. Russian and Belarusian oligarchs.”

In addition to the European Task Force, the EU will also work with the group of seven countries, including the US and Australia, on REPO – the task force “Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs – to coordinate efforts to identify the assets of those individuals and entities sanctioned in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are taking “legal steps to locate, contain, freeze, seize and, where appropriate, seize or confiscate their assets,” the statement said. press release.

The discussion stems from growing concerns about Ukraine’s ability to support its military operations and provide services to its citizens, especially as its ability to issue bonds on the international market is significantly limited.

Separately, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Friday that he has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy about the possibility of establishing a Ukraine Solidarity Fund. Such a mechanism would provide short-term liquidity for the country’s defense efforts and basic services, as well as pay for longer-term investments to rebuild the economy, another official said. Michel said partners can contribute through an international donor conference.

This post EU officials consider using sanctioned Russians’ assets for Ukraine

was original published at “https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/eu-officials-mull-using-sanctioned-russians-assets-for-ukraine”