Russia must pay for the damage it’s done – POLITICO

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Furthermore, confiscating the assets of Russian oligarchs is another important dimension to all of this, and the EU’s already setting a trend by finalizing necessary legislation on this.

Of course, some of our allies are concerned that the decision to seize the Russian central bank’s assets could set a precedent for other countries to seek reparations for past wars. But these fears are unfounded. The legal mechanism for confiscating Russian assets can be tailored to the specific case of its aggression against Ukraine, and thus developing existing international law would have no retroactive effect.

Rather, it would serve as a strong deterrent, forcing other potential aggressors to consider the financial consequences of attacking other nations.

The overall price tag for Ukraine’s recovery has now reached $486 billion, according to the most recent report from the World Bank. It estimates direct damages from the war at almost $152 billion. And Russian money can cover a large portion of these enormous recovery and defense costs.

Current Russian assets in the U.K. ($23 billion), Luxembourg ($6.8 billion) and Switzerland ($8.7 billion) would be enough to meet Ukraine’s needs for rebuilding its transport infrastructure. This includes 16 damaged or destroyed civilian airports, at least 344 bridges and over 25,000 kilometers of highway.

Meanwhile, frozen assets in Germany ($6.5 billion), Austria ($1.8 billion), Ireland ($2 billion) and Poland ($1.13 billion) would be sufficient to help restore over 3,500 damaged or destroyed educational facilities — including 1,700 schools, more than 1,000 kindergartens and 586 universities.

And that’s not all. Russian assets in France ($1.48 billion) would be enough to build a new hydroelectric power plant to replace Ukraine’s Kakhovka plant, which Russia destroyed last summer. And the profits from Russian assets held in Belgium’s Euroclear depository for 2022 and the first half of 2023 alone total $2.56 billion. That money could rebuild 1,223 health care facilities, including 384 hospitals and 352 outpatient centers damaged or destroyed by Russia.

All of this can happen as soon as the political will is there — and the time for that it is now. It will be worth it.

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