EU Considering Using Frozen Russian Assets to Rebuild Ukraine.
The European Union has already matured to the need for Ukraine to obtain compensation from Russia for war crimes.
Although the EU has reached a consensus on this matter, it remains at a crossroads regarding mechanisms to implement it: confiscate the assets or use them in another way.
Read about the difference between these mechanisms, what is better for Ukraine, what prefers Brussels, in the article of Sofia Kosarevych, an analyst of the Dnistrianskyi Center, How seized Russian assets will help Ukraine: EU scenarios (Ukr).
The published in December draft Directive on the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of Union restrictive measures was a peculiar result of the European Union's work on compensation in 2022.
As well as proposing to criminalise sanctions circumvent, approval of the directive would make EU rules on tracing, identifying, freezing and confiscating assets applicable to a wider range of individuals and their assets.
The initiative at the level of the European Parliament and the EU Council is currently pending.
Therefore, the EU leadership continues to consider various ways of solving this issue.
Thus, the EU started the new year by passing the Resolution on the establishment of a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine in the European Parliament.
The European Parliament called on European institutions, member states and their allies to discuss the legal possibilities of using sovereign Russian assets as compensation for Ukraine. It also voiced the possibility of refusing or limiting the doctrine of sovereign immunity for Russia due to the gross nature of the violations committed by it.
MEPs supported the recommendation of the UN General Assembly to establish "international Register of Damage to serve as a record, in documentary form, of evidence and claims information on damage, loss or injury to all natural and legal persons concerned, as well as the state of Ukraine, caused by Russian Federation’s internationally wrongful acts in or against Ukraine."
The political significance of the document is difficult to overestimate, but the problem is that EU resolutions are purely declarative and have no practical consequences for European institutions or member states.
Unlike confiscation, the EU again voiced the idea in late January of using the mechanism of investing Russian sovereign assets as a way for Ukraine to receive compensation.
The European Commission has warned that it is difficult to make an appropriate legal decision unless they estimate the detailed amount of assets that could be used. The most common number is $300 billion.
But the uncertainty of the mechanism of investing Russian assets probably forced the EU to return to the idea of confiscation.
On February 15, the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union (English Coreper II) approved the creation of a working group to look at using frozen Russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The Working Group will carry out a legal, financial, economic and political analysis of the possibilities of using frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine. The Working Group will be chaired by Ambassador Anders Ahnlid, Director-General of the National Board of Trade.
One of their tasks is to identify and track Russian assets, as well as assess their value. The work will be carried out in close cooperation with the Freeze and Seize Task Force, led by the European Commission.
The implementation of this task should be facilitated by the approval of the tenth package of sanctions against the Russian Federation, said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. She noted that as part of the restrictive measure, the EU institutions together with the member states will contribute to the detection of all Russian assets in the Union.
The resolution B9-0126/2023 of February 16 calls on completing the legal regime allowing for the confiscation of Russian assets frozen by the EU and for their use to address the various consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, including the reconstruction of the country
In general, it will not be easy for the European Union to make an effective and compromise decision on the compensation mechanism.
This requires Kyiv to closely oversee this process, clearly declaring its agreement or disagreement with the proposed mechanisms.
Russians recruit young Palestinians to fight against Ukraine.
Russia is recruiting young Palestinians and also looks for Syrians to involve them in the war against Ukraine; about 300 people have already been sent to the combat zone.
According to The Media Line news agency A Lebanese government security source tells TML that young Palestinian men are being paid 350 USD per month to enlist in the Russian military, while elite Syrian troops are also being recruited in a display of loyalty for aid in the civil war.
The recruitment effort is being carried out by activists affiliated with the Palestinian embassy in Lebanon.
In addition, the recruitment is being carried out in coordination with Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based radical organisation: they are looking for people that are skilled in operating drones and individuals with expertise in guerrilla warfare in urban areas.
According to the news agency, Russia is sending Palestinians to the contact zone. In total, around 300 people have already been sent to the front line after the sped-up training. Another 100 Palestinians are preparing for being sent into battle.
The majority of the mercenaries are from the Ein Al-Khalwa, the largest Palestine refugee camp in Lebanon, just south of the port city of Sidon. TML reports that the recruits are members of the Fatah political movement, which is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In addition, according to TML, Russia looks for mercenaries in Syria. This is being handled by Wagner Group private military company.
Fighters from the Syrian regular forces, primarily from the military units supervised by Russia, may also go to war with Ukraine on behalf of Russia. These fighters are paid US$500 to US$700 per month for participating in hostilities, which is a very large salary by Syrian standards.
Russian Defence Ministry reports that 10 drones attack Crimea.
The Russian Ministry of Defence has said that on 1 March, Crimea was ostensibly attacked by 10 Ukrainian drones and all of them were shot down.
Igor Konashenkov, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defence reported : "[We] prevented an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a massive drone attack on the Crimean Peninsula targets. 6 Ukrainian combat drones were shot down by anti-aircraft missiles, four more were disabled by radio-electronic warfare systems."
He also claimed that there are no alleged victims or destruction as a result of the attack.