EU Commissioner Says Almost $17 Billion In Russian Assets Frozen

The European Union has frozen Russian assets worth around 17 billion euros ($16.9 billion) since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in an interview published on October 29.

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

“So far, the assets of 90 people have been frozen, more than 17 billion euros in seven member states, including 2.2 billion euros in Germany,” he told the Funke media group of newspapers.

The EU has adopted eight sanctions packages since the Russian war against Ukraine began eight months ago.

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.

Separately, Reynders told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper that this year could see the first war crimes trials linked to the war in Ukraine.

“If prosecutors want to start at the highest level, let them do it,” he said.

Reynders said he was “reasonably sure” that the first war crimes trials of Russian suspects would begin at the International Criminal Court this year. (Based on reporting by dpa and AFP)