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After Canada, UK mulls seizure of Russian assets to give to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is speaking in this video grab taken from footage broadcast by the UK Parliamentary Recording Unit via the Parliament TV website on June 27, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

The United Kingdom has been reviewing a plan to seize Russian assets, and allocate the country's wealth to either Ukrainian victims of the war or the Ukrainian government, according to reports.

British media reported on Sunday that the UK foreign secretary was in favor of following Canada's example in the appropriation of Russian assets and handing them over to Ukraine to either give to Ukrainian victims of the war or to swell the coffers of the Ukrainian state.

Liz Truss was supportive of the idea that frozen Russian assets be redistributed to the victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the report said.

The UK wants to follow the example of Canada and seize the assets of Russians in the UK in order to give them to Ukraine, Truss told MPs last week.

“I am supportive of the concept. We are looking at it very closely. The Canadians have in fact just passed legislation. This is an issue that we are working on jointly with the Home Office and the Treasury, but I certainly agree with the concept. We just need to get the specifics of it right,” she said, noting that the government would “most probably” need new legislation to launch the anti-Russia initiative.

Truss is due to give a speech on Monday at a Ukraine reconstruction conference in Lugano, Switzerland, which will see physical or virtual attendance by most of Ukraine’s senior political leadership.

“The UK is resolute in its support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and will remain at Ukraine’s side as it emerges as a strong, thriving, and cutting-edge democracy. We have led on support for Ukraine during the war and will continue to lead in supporting the Ukrainian government’s reconstruction and development plan," she is likely to say in her speech, according to British media reports. 

Russians have warned that they would take retaliatory measures against countries engaged in hostility against Moscow.

Following the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, the US, Britain and other Western countries announced a slew of sanctions targeting Moscow's elites, and key industries, cutting the country's access to the international financial system.

Last month, Canada decided to seize the assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and companies and use them to compensate victims of the Ukraine war.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

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