In a push for aiding Ukraine’s recovery after the devastating conflict with Russia, Penny Pritzker, the US special representative for Ukraine’s recovery, emphasized the potential of frozen Russian sovereign assets to play a crucial role.
“Given the destruction that the Russians have caused to Ukraine… they ought to be contributing to the recovery,” Pritzker affirmed during a press briefing on Wednesday. The statement underscores the stance of the US government and its intention to harness these assets for Ukraine’s rebuilding efforts.
‘It Will Never Happen,’ Says Ukraine Experts
However, a Ukrainian legal expert has suggested the idea is unlikely.
“Russia should not only contribute to the recovery of Ukraine, but compensate all the victims of this war for the damage and suffering,” Tetiana Khutor, chief of the Kyiv-based legal think tank Institute of legislative ideas told 19FortyFive on Thursday.
“But it will never happen, as long as justice is a hostage to the legal deficiencies and fear of developed countries for their financial interests.
“Unfortunately, the US has not shown its leadership in matters related to the using Russian sovereign assets even after 1.5 years of full scale invasion. Despite some efforts, not seeing support from the US, the EU does not want to risk their financial stability all alone.
“So, the only way to eliminate the caution about the legal and financial risks is to take collective actions by all the G7 members and transfer all the frozen money to one fund. It will give an opportunity not only to keep that money frozen but also to gain profit (2-3 billion dollars per year) and forward it to Ukraine in the nearest future.
“As long as the US will step back from taking or at least supporting resolute decisions, everyone will pay for the recovery except for Russia.”
Advocating for Utilizing Frozen Assets
The freezing of approximately $300 billion worth of Russian sovereign assets by Western nations was a response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Now, there are calls for these resources to be used effectively to support Ukraine’s journey towards recovery and stability.
Pritzker stated on Wednesday, “Legally, how one gets that done is something that’s being worked on,” highlighting the ongoing discussions and planning to navigate the legalities and logistics of allocating these frozen funds.
Global Financial Repercussions
While the idea of redirecting the frozen assets to aid Ukraine gains traction, it has prompted a division of opinions among nations and financial institutions.
The European Central Bank and other entities have expressed caution regarding the legality and potential ramifications of such a move. This marked difference in perspective underscores the complexity of navigating the financial and legal landscapes in international affairs.
Solidarity and Rebuilding Ukraine
The conflict in Ukraine has left a trail of devastation, not just in terms of lives lost but also extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy. Last September the World Bank suggested that the cost of rebuilding Ukraine could be approximately $349 billion,
The utilization of frozen Russian sovereign assets to fund Ukraine’s postwar rebuilding may be seen by many as a step towards shared responsibility and international cooperation to help Ukraine rebuild its future, but it remains far from uncontroversial or imminent.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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