Russia's foreign minister warns against seizing reserves

Russia's foreign minister warns against seizing reserves

The Russian state's foreign exchange reserves would be an act of total lawlessness and would undermine the very basis of international relations, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said, commenting on an idea floated by the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borell.

Borrell suggested seizing Russia's frozen reserves and using them to cover the costs of rebuilding Ukraine once the conflict is over, in a recent interview with FT. According to the remarks, Grushko told RIA Novosti that the EU's appetite comes with eating and that the confiscation of assets would be complete lawlessness, the destruction of the very foundation of international relations. Such a decision, in Grushko's opinion, will hurt the Europeans, hurt the modern financial system and undermine confidence in Europe and in the West in general, according to Grushko's opinion. He concluded that this was the law of the jungle.

In coming up with the idea, Borrell referred to the precedent of US President Joe Biden having set aside billions of the assets of Afghanistan's central bank to be used to benefit the Afghan people. The EU foreign policy chief said that we have the money in our pockets and that someone has to explain to me why it is good for the Afghan money and not good for Russian money. He said that one of the most important questions that the world has to answer is who will be paying the enormous amount of money needed for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Half of Russia's international reserves, around $300 billion, have been frozen as part of Western sanctions since the beginning of Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow could not have predicted this development and that the freeze, in his opinion, constitutes theft.

Russia attacked its neighboring state after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to take the two republics by force.