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Rebuilding Ukraine after the war could cost $411 billion. The EU thinks an estimated $3 billion interest generated from frozen Russian assets every year could help.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin.Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP

  • The EU is considering using the interest generated from frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine, per CNN.
  • The bloc has been considering seizing frozen Russian assets for this purpose since last year.
  • However, there have been concerns about the legality of such a move.

The European Union is considering using the interest generated from frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine after the war, an EU official told CNN in an interview published on Thursday.

This is one of the ideas the EU has received as the bloc grapples with how to rebuild Ukraine — which would cost $411 billion over 10 years, the World Bank estimated in March. This estimate includes the reconstruction of infrastructure and housing projects.

“It’s the best way of using these assets in accordance with EU and international law,” Anders Ahnlid, the director general Sweden’s national trade board, a government agency, and the head of the EU working group looking into frozen Russian assets, told CNN.

The assets would likely generate about 3 billion euros, or $3.3 billion, each year, he told the network. This means it would take at least 124 years to help rebuild Ukraine if the interest proceeds were the only funding source. 

Other options that the EU has considered over the last year include seizing Russian assets and reinvesting the proceeds, or taxing their profits.

While EU authorities have frozen more than $200 billion in Russian assets amid sweeping sanctions against the country, there have been concerns about the legality of simply seizing and using them for the reconstruction of Ukraine, Insider previously reported.

The process of just seizing and selling Russian assets is very complicated from a legal standpoint, Tiffany Comprés, an attorney specializing in international law at FisherBroyles told Insider last May. 

She explained it’s because such a move would require changes in the ownership of the assets, and such processes would vary in different jurisdictions. Seizing state assets would also require the involvement of international bodies such as the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, Comprés added.

Even Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conceded it would be legally contentious to just seize Russian assets, saying in May 2022: “It’s not something that is legally permissible in the United States..”

In May 2022, the Kremlin called the notion of seizing $300 billion worth of frozen Russian central bank assets for rebuilding Ukraine “outright theft.”

The European Commission and the Kremlin did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

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