Belgium has launched a special fund to support Ukraine, which will receive funds from taxing frozen Russian assets in the country, that will later be directed towards aid for Ukraine. The fund amounts to €1.7 billion. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was visiting the country.
De Croo noted that frozen assets, the income derived from them, and the taxes collected on them are managed separately. The assets and their income fall under the jurisdiction of the European Union, while the taxes on the income collected in Belgium are at the disposal of the government.
"And we have decided that 100% of these proceeds will be allocated to assist Ukraine," stated the Belgian Prime Minister.
De Croo emphasized that this fund will be used, among other things, for the purchase of military equipment and humanitarian aid, as well as to support the European Peace Fund and provide macro-financial assistance.
Belgium has become the first country to initiate the practice of using frozen Russian assets.
"As you know, we are working together with the European Union on sanction packages. There is one specific element in which we are the driving force – sanctions on diamonds. Belgium plays an important role in the diamond trade, and we want to completely exclude Russian diamonds from our retail markets," said de Croo.
According to the Prime Minister, the best way to achieve this is to create a comprehensive tracking system to make it impossible for Russian diamonds to be sold on any market.
It should be noted that this morning, Belgium's Defense Minister, Ludivine Dedonder, announced that several Belgian F-16 fighter jets will be sent to Ukraine starting 2025. Additionally, Belgium will continue to train Ukrainian pilots and offer technical support for the entire F-16 fleet of the coalition.