Thu, February 9, 2023

Switzerland warns against handover of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine

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Published: 06 February, 2023, 11:22 PM

Switzerland warns the international community about negative consequences of a possible decision to hand over frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said on Tuesday.

He told an international conference on Ukrainian recovery held in the Swiss city of Lugano that a decision of this kind would set a dangerous precedent and undermine foundations of the liberal order, reports TASS.

"The right of ownership, the right of property is a fundamental right, a human right," he said, adding that those rights can be violated only if a proper legal base is created, as was the case during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Western nations started imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, including freezing about $300 billion of the Russian Central Bank’s foreign assets, as well as overseas assets of other Russian banks and companies. Moreover, the United States decided not to return the seized assets to their legitimate owners in the future, while the House of Representatives of the US Congress approved the decision to sell some of the confiscated property to provide aid to Kiev. Besides, Washington mulls using the Russian Central Bank’s frozen assets to provide financial and military assistance to the Kiev government. The decision was supported by EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the confiscation of Russian assets "twists all legal norms," and amounts to "expropriation of private property." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has described the initiative to hand over those assets to Ukraine as "theft.".