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Poland strives for seizure of Russian assets in Europe

Piotr Mueller told a press briefing the situation concerning a sixth tranche of EU sanctions against Russia was difficult as the consent of all member states is required.
Tomasz Gzell/PAP

Poland is striving for changes in national legislation in Europe regarding the seizure of Russian assets as a sanction against Moscow and to aid Ukraine’s post-war recovery, the government’s spokesperson said on Monday.

Piotr Mueller told a press briefing the situation concerning a sixth tranche of EU sanctions against Russia was difficult as the consent of all member states is required.

“Of course we support it,” Mueller said of the sixth sanctions package. “At the moment we are striving for changes in national rules concerning the confiscation of Russian assets within the framework of European agreements,” he continued.

Mueller highlighted that under Polish laws, Russian assets can be frozen but not confiscated and used to aid Ukraine or its refugees.

“On the territory of Europe there are several hundreds of billions of dollars of frozen assets of the Russian Federation, so the Russian state directly, and Russian oligarchs related to the Russian Federation,” Mueller said. “It would be the farthest reaching sanction and at the same time a sanction that would mean Ukraine would have a base of financial means to rebuild.”

Last week, within the framework of the sixth package of sanctions, the European Commission proposed ending the import of crude oil from Russia within six months and of refined petroleum products by the end of the year. EC President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament it was not an easy decision to take as some member states are heavily dependent on Russian oil, but that an embargo was necessary to punish Russia.

On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Budapest could not support the move in its current form, describing it as “an atom bomb thrown into the Hungarian economy.”


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