West must seize frozen Russian assets before U.S. election – Estonian PM

West must seize frozen Russian assets before U.S. election – Estonian PM

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said that the West must confiscate frozen Russian assets before the presidential election in the United States.

That's according to Estonian broadcaster ERR.

"Elections are always turbulent timeі. It's always better to do everything we can before important elections," Kallas told the Financial Times newspaper on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.

Estonia has long advocated the confiscation of these assets, but Paris and Berlin have been cautious due to concerns about the legality of such a move, its implications for financial stability and possible retaliation.

According to Kallas, the seizure of the Russian assets is seen as another opportunity that, along with military aid to Ukraine and measures to isolate Russia politically, could help end the war.

"This is economic pressure we can place on the Russian economy to hasten the breaking point of this war," she said.

Last year, the EU created a damage register to record evidence and claims of damage caused to Ukrainian individuals, companies and the state due to the Russian invasion. Kallas said frozen Russian funds could be used to cover those losses: "If there is anything left over, we can give it back to Russia," she said.

According to journalists, Kallas' words are another sign of European concern about how the possible return of Donald Trump to the White House could affect Western policy towards Russia and support for Ukraine.

Trump's likely nomination as the Republican nominee in this year's U.S. presidential election has spooked many in Europe, especially after the businessman said he would tell Russia to do "whatever it wants" to NATO countries that are not spending enough on defense needs.

Washington is pushing its allies to find ways to confiscate some EUR 260 billion in Russian Central Bank assets that were frozen in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago. About EUR 191 billion of Moscow's assets are held in the Brussels securities depository Euroclear.

Photo: Kaja Kallas / Twitter

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