|US$500 billion of Russian assets have been frozen by the United States|
Switzerland responded coldly to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal's request to seize frozen assets belonging to Russian oligarchs. The seizures were meant to help Ukraine fund the country's $750 billion recovery project. At a conference held in Lugano, Switzerland, Denys Shmyhal said Russian assets worth US$300 billion to US$500 billion had been frozen by the United States, European Union and Britain. The assets are considered to be used to rebuild damaged schools, hospitals and houses in Ukraine.
"You propose to come up with a formula to create national and international laws to create the possibility of confiscation of frozen assets in case of unwarranted military aggression," Shmyhal told the conference. The Ukrainian prime minister added that such a step would help improve global security by preventing unwarranted military aggression. Switzerland, which in May reported freezing Russian assets of 6.3 billion Swiss francs, or about 6.50 billion US dollars, refused to give up the assets automatically.
Switzerland itself has long been a popular destination for Russian oligarchs and a repository of Russian assets. Swiss President Ignazio Cassis said it was important to protect individuals from state power and create a legal basis for confiscation of funds. "According to the rules we have in most democracies, we can freeze to clarify where these assets are coming from," Cassis said.
But according to Cassis, statements about the relationship between money and the war in Ukraine and the proportionality of action also need to be addressed. "Now we can take a perfect decision for Ukraine, but we create the possibility to take the same decision in many other possibilities and give more power to the state and away from the citizens."