Never been so optimistic that Ukraine will actually get frozen Russian assets as I am now - post Davos.
Just been in a panel where leaders from Canada, Poland and the UK plus Ukrainians pushed the issue.
Two months ago, it seemed like the campaign we have been running was getting stuck in bureaucracy and legal bullsh*t. Something has changed in recent weeks - I think realization that supporting Ukraine is expensive and it’s hard to get sign off from Western taxpayers.
But Chris Freeland Canadian finance minister summed it up well at Davos today - wars are expensive, the West is struggling with a mound of debt and competing claims from climate change and cost of living crisis, but it just makes sense to take RU assets give to Ukraine and explain to Western taxpayers that Russia is going to pay. They will absolutely understand this - and it is absolutely the right thing to do.
Interesting also that people have said that allocating frozen RU assets to Ukraine is “Trump proofing” financial support for Ukraine which perhaps explains the newfound focus and impetus post the Iowa caucus. If Ukraine has the $300bn plus on its account, it can buy its own defense equipment - and would itself make it hard for Trump to veto arms sales to Ukraine if the Ukrainians are willing to spend tens of billions of bucks on defense kit from lots of Red and Blue states.
So, net I think Ukraine does get $300bn plus RU assets.
Question then is thinking about institutional structure around that - still think it makes sense for cash to be deposited in Ukrainian sovereign wealth style fund (jointly owned/managed by Ukraine and Western partners), invested in Ukraine and globally to earn return to fund defense and reconstruction.
Think $300bn invested with 10% return is $30bn plus annual funding for Ukraine. This entity can be a partner for future investment with private sector and could borrow on its own behalf - and if it has $300bn on account it could borrow very cheaply which would boost that $30bn fund as above.
Think of Ukrainian style GIC/Temesek from Singapore.
PS Duda, Cameron, Kuleba, Freeland, pretty clear there is agreement now on confiscating the $300bn+ in immobilised Russian assets and transfer to Ukraine. It is going to happen. G7 at end of Feb. will sign off on it. Germany will have to roll-over.
Reprinted from @tashecon blog. See the original here.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.
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