Russia Summons Swiss Ambassador Over Frozen Assets Plan

Tue Mar 12 2024
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MOSCOW: Russia summoned the Swiss ambassador for a dressing down on Tuesday after lawmakers in Bern supported moves to allowing Ukraine to use frozen Russian assets.

Last week, Swiss lawmakers approved motions that could facilitate the release of billions of dollars in frozen Russian assets for use in reparations to Ukraine, prompting condemnation from Moscow. Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the decision, stating that it “grossly violates the fundamental principles and norms of international law.”

Western nations froze approximately $300 billion of assets belonging to the Russian central bank following Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine in February 2022. Calls to allocate these funds to support Ukraine have intensified as the conflict enters its third year, but consensus on the appropriate use of the assets remains elusive.

Moscow vehemently opposes the notion of using the frozen assets for reparations to Kyiv, characterizing such actions as theft on a governmental level. The Russian foreign ministry emphasized its stance during the meeting with Swiss envoy Krystyna Marty Lang.

Switzerland holds more than $8 billion in frozen assets belonging to the Russian central bank, raising significant questions about the potential implications of releasing these funds for Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts. According to the World Bank, Ukraine faces a daunting task, with the estimated cost of reconstruction and recovery exceeding $486 billion.

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