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EU has frozen €17 bln in Russian assets since Ukraine invasion

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The European Union has frozen Russian assets worth around €17 billion ($16.9 billion) since Moscow invaded Ukraine, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in an interview published Saturday.

The figure has risen from the roughly €13.8 billion “from oligarchs and other entities” that Reynders in July announced the EU had frozen, mainly in five countries.

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“So far, the assets of 90 people have been frozen, more than €17 billion in seven member states, including €2.2 billion in Germany,” he told German media group Funke, including the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

Ukrainian officials have been calling for the assets to be used to rebuild their country after the war.

“If it is criminal money confiscated by the EU, it is possible to transfer it to a compensation fund for Ukraine,” Reynders said in the interview.

“This amount is far from being sufficient to finance reconstruction,” he added.

Reynders noted that Western sanctions have also led to the “freezing of 300 billion euros” of Central Bank of Russia foreign exchange reserves around the world, saying this could be used as a guarantee.

“From my point of view, it is at least possible to keep these €300 billion as a guarantee until Russia voluntarily participates in the reconstruction of Ukraine,” he said.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, 1,236 people including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as oligarchs including Roman Abramovich, have been subject to asset freezes and bans from entering the EU.

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