President Zelensky’s adviser said Ukraine is in discussions with many countries to seize and sell Russian assets. If this scenario comes to fruition, Russia could retaliate by seizing the assets of international businesses.
Ukraine is urging its allies to seize and sell Russian assets, including oil tankers, to pay for rebuilding cities and infrastructure destroyed by Russian forces, Bloomberg reports. believe.
Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Ukraine is conducting discussions with many countries on this issue. He declined to say specifically which countries Kiev was contacting, but added that some allied governments were preparing for “mass attack on all major assets,”.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Mr. Ustenko said Ukraine has suffered more than $1 trillion in material damage since Russia’s offensive began at the end of February. He said international sanctions targeting Moscow have stopped released about $300 billion in assets of Russia’s central bank, noting that senior Russian state officials and businessmen have more than $1.5 trillion in assets abroad.
“We believe it is possible to seize their assets abroad,” he said, including a fleet of Russian oil tankers worth about $5 billion. “We know that it is possible to find assets hidden around the world by Russian authorities.”
The Russian state-owned Sovcomflot company is the world’s largest owner of Aframax tankers, according to data from Clarksons Research Services. These medium-sized ships typically operate in the Mediterranean, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic regions.
Most countries have not yet banned the purchase of Russian crude, but many companies have steered clear of the commodity. Last week, European Union (EU) diplomats issued sanctions aimed at preventing nearly all Russian ships from entering the economic bloc.
While the US, UK, EU and several other Western countries have stepped up sanctions against Russia, any attempt to sell confiscated assets and transfer money to Ukraine is likely to face lengthy legal trouble. This action also risks Moscow retaliation by confiscating the assets of multinational enterprises in Russia.
According to a World Bank report, Ukraine’s economy is expected to shrink by 45% this year because of the war, while Russia’s GDP is forecast to shrink by 11%. The report also noted that the economic outlook could be more bleak. Specifically, Ukraine’s economy is likely to shrink by 75% while Russia’s by 20% if the conflict continues to escalate.