G7 Closer To Giving $300BN In Seized Russian Assets To Ukraine After Orban Blocked EU Funds

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 18, 2023 - 10:45 AM

Group of Seven member states are moving closer to approving a controversial plan that would funnel some $300 billion of Russia's seized central bank and other sovereign assets (such as some oligarchs' superyachts) which have been "immobilized" in Europe to give to Ukraine.

"G7 members and other specially affected states could seize Russian sovereign assets as a countermeasure to induce Russia to end its aggression," a US policy paper being considered by the G7 states.

The Financial Times aptly described the proposal as constituting "a radical step that would open a new chapter in the west’s financial warfare against Moscow" - also as certainly Moscow would see it as brazen theft.

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While neither the White House nor US Treasury has openly affirmed that this is the US stance, the FT noted US officials are actively engaging G7 countries to see it through.

"A US official said Washington was engaged in active conversations on the use of Russian sovereign assets and believed there was a short timeline to make a decision," FT details. "They suggested it could be discussed at a possible G7 leaders’ meeting to coincide with the second anniversary in February of Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine."

It seems war fatigue and a sudden slowdown in funding for Kiev has prompted Washington and G7 partners to "get creative". Two things happened this past week, which was certainly a "bitter week of disappointment" for Zelensky...

  • Republicans in Congress have blocked Biden's efforts to get an over one hundred billion foreign defense aid package pass.
  • Hungary's Viktor Orbán blocked an EU funding package for Ukraine worth €50bn ($54bn), which came the same day Hungary abstained from a vote on starting formal EU membership talks for Ukraine.

Orban had written on social media: "Summary of the nightshift: veto for the extra money to Ukraine." He had for weeks promised to also block the start of EU accession talks, so it seems blocking the funds was an effort to show his supporters he didn't back down (completely).

Putin meanwhile on Thursday had mocked the whole situation, telling Ukraine that its Western "freebies" were running out.

Meanwhile, further quid pro quo might eventually serve to unblock the EU funds for Ukraine...

Ukraine reportedly needs to EU funds in order to keep basic state services afloat, including paying teachers, civic workers, and maintaining pensions - among other things.