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Belgium to use tax on seized Russian assets to create $1.8 billion fund for Ukraine

Belgium will create an $1.8 billion fund for Ukraine using tax on profits generated by Russian assets frozen after the start of the war, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced.

The money, which stems from the nearly $200 billion frozen Russian assets held at Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear, will be available to Ukraine next year, for military and humanitarian uses.

"It is important that Belgium has become the first country to launch such a practice of using frozen Russian assets for protection against Russian terror," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a press conference held with De Crpp. " The funds will be used for security assistance to our country and for fast recovery projects. We would really like to be able to use the funds right now." 

The announcement is a first step in the legally and politically complicated issue of what to do with the approximately $300 billion in Russian assets frozen last year by Western sanctions for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union is debating whether the assets themselves, rather than just the profit generated from them, can be used toward the reconstruction of Ukraine but the IMF has warned the use of the funds against Russia's will could stir fears among other nations that their funds held by Western institutions aren't safe.

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