G7 officials make progress but no final deal on money for Ukraine from frozen Russian assets

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Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors pose for the family picture at the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in Stresa, northern Italy on May 24. (AP)

FRANKFURT, Germany, May 26, (AP): Finance officials from the Group of Seven rich democracies said they had moved toward agreement on a US proposal to squeeze more money for Ukraine from Russian assets frozen in their countries. But the ministers left a final deal to be worked out ahead of a June summit of national leaders.
“We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine,” the draft statement said, without providing details.
Despite the progress made at the the meeting in Stresa, on the shores of Lago Maggiore in northern Italy, a final decision on how the assets will be used will rest with the G7 national leaders, including US President Joe Biden, next month at their annual summit in Fasano, in southern Italy.
Host Finance Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said that “progress has been made so far” but that there were “legal and technical issues that have to be overcome.”
“It is not an easy task but we are working on it,” he said at a news conference following the end of the meeting.
Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko joined the finance ministers and central bank heads at their concluding session on Saturday. “I am satisfied with the progress,” he told journalists afterwards. He said the G7 ministers “are working very hard to find a reliable construction for Ukraine.”
The US Congress has passed legislation allowing the Biden administration to seize the roughly $5 billion in Russian assets located in the US, but European countries have a strong voice in the matter since most of the $260 billion in Russian central bank assets frozen after the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion are held in their jurisdictions.
Citing legal concerns, European officials have balked at outright confiscating the money and handing it to Ukraine as compensation for the destruction caused by Russia.

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