BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union states have reported the freezing of about 23 billion euros ($24.5 billion) of assets of the Russian Central Bank, a top EU official said on Wednesday, revealing for the first time a figure that was expected to be much higher.
Russia has publicly said that Western sanctions led to the freezing of about $300 billion of its central bank’s assets globally.
Of these frozen assets, only less than one-tenth is in the EU, according to information that the European Commission has collected from the 27 EU governments, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told a news conference.
He said that about 23 billion euros had been frozen in the EU since the start of the war in Ukraine in February, a figure that is dwarfed by the $100 billion frozen by the United States.
In addition to that, EU countries have also frozen about 10 billion euros of physical assets, such as yachts and villas, linked to oligarchs and officials with ties to the Kremlin, Reynders said.
He did not explain why the third largest economy in the world had apparently attracted so few assets from the Russian central bank.
He also declined to indicate whether all EU governments had reported the freezing of assets.
Many EU governments have traditionally been cautious in fully enforcing EU sanctions, and some of them have declined to publicly say whether they have frozen Russian assets.
($1 = 0.9369 euro)
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Jonathan Oatis)