UK PM Sunak says West should be bolder about seizing Russian assets

By Thomson Reuters Feb 24, 2024 | 5:30 PM

LONDON (Reuters) – Western nations should be bolder about confiscating Russian assets which they froze after the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Sunak, in an article in an early edition of the Sunday Times to mark two years since the start of the conflict, said Ukraine continued to need more long-range weapons, drones and munitions, as well as other assistance.

“We must be bolder in hitting the Russian war economy …. And we must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets,” he said .

Last month British Investment Minister Dominic Johnson met U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo to discuss the seizure of frozen Russian assets, but stressed this needed to be done in accordance with international law.

The European Union, U.S., Japan and Canada froze some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Group of Seven countries have been studying a possible seizure of the assets as a way to have Russia pay for the damage its invasion caused in Ukraine.

Sunak also urged the U.S. to continue to provide financial and military support for Ukraine.

“We should never underestimate what America has done for Ukraine and for Euro-Atlantic security. I urge them to continue that support, and I am confident they will,” he wrote in the article.

Britain’s defence ministry announced 245 million pounds ($311 million) of aid to fund Ukrainian artillery ammunition on Saturday.

($1 = 0.7887 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Marguerita Choy)