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European Parliament calls for freeze on Belarusian assets to pay for reconstruction of Ukraine

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on a July visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. Belarusian government photo)

By Ukraine Rebuild News Staff, Sept 15, 2023

The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the European Union to freeze Belarusian assets and seek to transfer them to Ukraine to pay for reconstruction after the war with Russia, and asking the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

The resolution, passed with 453 votes in favour and 21 against in a plenary session, calls for “the EU and its Member States to find legal pathways for seizing assets of the Belarusian leadership and related Belarusian entities involved in the Russian war effort and, if possible, using them to support the reconstruction of Ukraine.”

The resolution doesn’t estimate the total of assets that could be frozen not did it name the leaders and entities that could be targeted. With a population of 9 million and a 2022 gross domestic product of about $80 billion, the total would be a fraction of the Russian assets frozen.

The measures taken against Russian assets by G7 nations have confiscated an estimated $300 billion in assets held by banks and financial institutions in member nations although the governments are debating whether it’s legal to use them to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Much of those assets came from a freeze on part of the international reserves of Russia’s central bank that were held in European institutions.

The European Parliament resolution also called for the arrest of Lukashenko as his “regime has become an accomplice in the crimes committed by Russia, which implies responsibility for the destruction and damage caused to Ukraine.”

It also said he is complicit in “the illegal transfer of more than 2,150 children, including orphans, from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to so-called recreational camps in Belarus, where they are subjected to Russification and indoctrination.”

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