Poland welcomes EC move to seize Russian assets

Poland's minister for European affairs has described as a "step in the right direction" an announcement by the European Commission (EC)'s president that the bloc will confiscate frozen Russian assets.

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said on Wednesday that the confiscation of the assets had been proposed by Poland from the beginning and that Warsaw fully supported it.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Wednesday work on an international agreement enabling the confiscation of Russian assets frozen through sanctions due to the invasion of Ukraine, and said that money secured that way could be used to pay Ukraine damages.

Speaking to journalists in the Sejm, Poland's lower house of parliament, Szynkowski vel Sek described the announcement as "a step in the right direction" and continued: "We suggested from the outset that Russian assets be confiscated. The Polish prime minister was one of the first leaders, if not the first leader, who presented such a stipulation. So we have supported it from the start."

Szynkowski vel Sek said he had discussed the issue with EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and that Poland stood ready to work with and support the EC on confiscations.

"Russia must also pay financially for the destruction it has caused," the minister said. "The damage suffered by Ukraine is estimated at EUR 600 billion. Russia and its oligarchs have to compensate Ukraine for the harm and cover the costs of rebuilding the country.

"We have the means to make Russia pay," he continued. "We have blocked EUR 300 billion of the Russian Central Bank's reserves and frozen EUR 19 billion belonging to Russian oligarchs. In the short term we could create a structure together with our partners to manage these funds and invest them. We would then earmark the money for Ukraine."