Estonian politicians on Thursday agreed to create draft legislation to use frozen Russian assets to contribute to rebuilding Ukraine.
Russia's devastation in Ukraine grows with each passing day and it is unfair that the taxpayers of democratic countries must pay for the damage, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said in a statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting.
"Ukraine is a victim of Russia's war and must be compensated by Russia. This is why we are working on a solution that would allow the use of frozen assets, which we have seized with sanctions from Russian citizens and companies, to compensate war damages," she said.
Kallas claimed Estonia is the first country in the EU to start working on a solution and other countries can use this model in the future.
Foreign minister Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200) said it was important to provide deterrence by sending the message that aggression will not go unpunished and there will be compensation for the damage caused by aggression.
"The existence of such a mechanism raises the cost of the aggression, especially if similar solutions are used by other countries or the European Union," he said.
According to international law, unlawful damage must be compensated.
The precondition for using frozen assets is an international agreement with Ukraine or with an international compensation mechanism to keep track of damages and compensations, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.
The first step is the establishment of a register of war damages in Ukraine at the Council of Europe.
The MFA and the Ministry of Justice have prepared draft legislation for amending the International Sanctions Act that will be submitted for approval in the near future.
Editor: Helen Wright