Estonia is going to be the first to confiscate Russia’s assets to help Ukraine

The Estonian government will present a legal plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine by the end of January, Bloomberg writes. with reference to the official representative of the country’s Foreign Ministry, Mihkel Tamm.

The Estonian government instructed ministries to develop a plan for the seizure of assets at the end of December, Tamm said. At the same time, Prime Minister Kaya Kallas called on EU members to “continue to work to hold Russians accountable for crimes” in Ukraine and use Russia’s frozen assets to help Kyiv.

In total, according to the Estonian authorities, Russian assets worth about 20 million euros have been arrested in the country. Tallinn stands for the transfer of these funds for the restoration of Ukraine.

Despite the relatively small size of assets, Estonia could become the first EU country to start the confiscation process. At the moment, the European Commission is looking for “legal ways” to seize about $311 billion of the frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank and about another 19 billion euros of assets of Russian oligarchs.

Germany is also ready to proceed with the confiscation, but on the condition that all related legal issues are resolved, and Berlin’s allies follow suit, Bloomberg sources familiar with discussions in the German government said.

However, Berlin does not have a unified position. German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock is pushing for the confiscation of at least some of the frozen assets, while Finance Minister Christian Lindner worries that such a move would set a dangerous precedent and lead the EU and its allies into a legal quagmire. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz demanded that any actions of Germany be legally verified.

Germany does not rule out the possibility that only the assets of Russian oligarchs and persons involved in Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine will be seized, the source said. However, such cases can take years of litigation, and the result will be reduced to a symbolic gesture without real help to Ukraine.

In the US, Congressional officials are also urging the administration of President Joe Biden to consider confiscating Russian assets through special legislation. But the White House also fears the negative consequences of such a move and believes that the withdrawal of funds from the Russian Central Bank will lead to the fact that other central banks will stop placing funds in the United States.

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