Ukraine: Support - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:25 pm ar 16 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Foreign Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 3:25, 16 Ebrill 2024

I can certainly update the House on both those issues. I have been perhaps one of the most enthusiastic about using the frozen Russian assets; you know that Russia will have to pay reparations, so you should give the money now to Ukraine and get it paid back by the reparations when they come. The difficulty is in getting consensus around the EU and in the United States. To be fair to European Union countries, the majority of the sovereign assets are in their countries and they have a direct interest in it, particularly Belgium and the money in Euroclear. I think there is an emerging consensus that the interest on those assets can be used to support much larger financial support for Ukraine, so I am confident that at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting and the G7 meeting there will be an answer around which America, the UK, France, Germany and others can coalesce. If we can get that done, we will be able to provide real financial firepower to Ukraine based on those assets, rather than delivering the assets directly.

The Chelsea situation is immensely frustrating; as the noble Lord says, what could be as much as £2.5 billion is sitting there in potentially one of the biggest charitable organisations in Britain, and it is very frustrating that we cannot get the money out of the door. The disagreement is over whether all the money has to go into Ukraine for the benefit of the people in Ukraine who have suffered from the war or whether any of it can be spent in other countries—although not Russia or Belarus—that have suffered from the Ukraine war. That is the difficulty with the people who set up this trust. We have to resolve that with the European Union and Portugal, where Abramovich has citizenship. We are working very hard because I do not want month after month to go by while the money has not got out of the door. It is difficult to get everybody into alignment, but we are on it.