Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Swiss leader cautions on using frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine

The president of Switzerland has cautioned Western allies about the legal complexities of using frozen Russian assets to help pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction, saying “the right of property is a fundamental right – is a human right”.

Ignazio Cassis made his comments to reporters at the end of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, after Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal voiced hopes to lock down and use an estimated $300-$500bn in Russian-owned assets that have been frozen in many Western banks to help pay for rebuilding Ukraine.

The Swiss leader said fundamental rights can at times be violated – as was done in some cases during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – “but we have to create the legal base” for such moves first. “You have to ensure the citizen is protected against the power of the state,” Cassis said.

Switzerland has frozen 6.3 billion Swiss francs ($6.5bn) in Russian assets.

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