Plaid Cymru calls for frozen Russian assets to be used to rebuild Ukraine
Plaid Cymru is calling on the UK Government to follow the EU and Canada in considering the use of frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.
The party’s foreign affairs spokesperson in Westminster, Hywel Williams MP, has today (20 February) urged the UK Government to take a more active role in assessing how Russian assets can be used to rebuild Ukraine.
Mr Williams’ intervention comes after the European Union announced last week that it is establishing a working group to explore the option.
The European Union’s working group will carry out a “legal, financial, economic and political analysis” to assess this possibility, the Swedish government said in a statement last Tuesday.
Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, which sets the bloc’s political priorities.
In Canada, under the Special Economic Measures Act – Russia Regulations, the Canadian Government intend to use seized Russian assets to help fund the work of re-building Ukraine.
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced on the 19th of December 2022 that they would start with by pursuing £21.7m of holdings by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.
Canada is the first G7 country to implement such measures.
According to the Russian central bank, approximately £266 billon of Russian foreign reserves are frozen in sanctions-participating jurisdictions, including France, Germany, Japan, the U.S, the U.K., Austria, Canada.
The UK has frozen £18bn of assets belonging to oligarchs and other Russians since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
In the UK, the existing legal method to take the next step and seize these assets in the UK would be to use the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The UK Government has indicated that work is on-going in this regard.
“Friday will mark a year since the Russian regime’s illegal attack on Ukraine began. In this time, the Ukrainian people have shown remarkable resilience in the face of continued brutal attacks,” Mr Williams, the MP for Arfon, said.
“Those who support, and prop-up Putin’s regime must pay for the damage caused and give compensation to the victims of this unjustifiable invasion. The Russian-linked assets which have been frozen in the UK should be used to support the people of Ukraine, including funding humanitarian efforts and contributing to the reconstruction of the country.
“The UK is currently lagging behind Canada and the EU on this issue. The Foreign Secretary should take a more active role internationally to ensure that Russia pays for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“The UK must continue to support Ukraine on the path toward peace and pursue accountability for the horrific crimes being committed across Ukraine.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.