MAY 11, 2022 BY NEWS WIRE
Shortly after the war in Ukraine began in late February, the US and European countries froze roughly half of all Russian foreign currency reserves, valued at $640 billion.
As a result, about $300 billion of Russia’s reserves had been seized.
Later, on May 1, US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer moved to add a special provision to Washington’s unprecedented $33 billion aid package to Kiev, one which would allow the US to grab the assets of any Russians which they deem to be an ‘oligarch,’ and then send the money from their sale directly to the Zelensky government in Ukraine.
“Ukraine needs all the help it can get and, at the same time, we need all the assets we can put together to give Ukraine the aid it needs,” said Schumer at the time.
The situation has been described by Russian officials in a recent report by RT International as open “theft” and “lawlessness”…
Seizing Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves would be nothing short of “theft,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. Such an idea was recently floated by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell.
“It seems fair to say that this is a theft they [the Western nations] do not even try to conceal,” the Russian foreign minister told journalists at a press conference during a visit to Algeria.
In a recent interview with FT, Borrell suggested seizing Russia’s frozen reserves and using them to cover the costs of rebuilding Ukraine once the conflict is over.
Such actions “become a sort of a habit for the West,” he added, pointing to the fact that the US had frozen funds “belonging to Afghanistan, the Afghan Central Bank.” Washington has no plans to spend them on the needs of the Afghan people “that have suffered the consequences of the 20-year-long NATO presence” on their soil, Lavrov said.
When Borrell himself unveiled the idea on Monday, he also referred to US President Joe Biden’s decision to set aside billions worth of the assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, adding, however, that they would be “used to benefit the Afghan people.”
The Russian minister also questioned Borrell’s role by saying that “we might soon see the position of the EU top diplomat gone for good since the European Union no longer has its own foreign policy and simply acts in line with whatever approaches are imposed by the US.”
Moscow would continue to oppose America’s attempts to “erode the principles the UN was based on” and to create a unipolar world order, the minister added.
Russia’s top diplomat also criticized Borrell for what he described as overstepping his bounds. Apart from suggesting the “idea of confiscating foreign assets,” the EU official previously said that the Ukrainian crisis “should be resolved through military means,” Lavrov said, referring to an April statement by Borrell that “this war will be won on the battlefield,” while speaking about Russia’s operation in Ukraine.
Borrell “might as well remember… he is the chief diplomat and not the military leader of the European Union,” the Russian foreign minister has said.
Moscow had already criticized Borrell’s asset seizure suggestion. On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called it an act of “complete lawlessness” that would harm international relations.
See the full comment from Russian FM at RT International