Thursday Briefing

Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines are reporting shortages of ammunition.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

How the E.U. plans to make Russia pay for Ukraine’s arms

The European Union said that it had devised a way to use frozen Russian assets to help arm Ukraine, as Ukraine runs perilously low on munitions, Europe’s arsenals dwindle and most U.S. aid remains mired in Congress.

“Make Russia pay” for Ukraine’s arsenal has long been a popular slogan among European allies, but legal concerns around liquidating Russian state assets frozen under sanctions have made accomplishing it difficult. Now, after months of political wrangling, the E.U.’s executive branch has found a way.

The E.U. is expected to approve the measure at a meeting in Brussels today, and the first payment to Kyiv could be made as soon as July. The plan could provide Ukraine with up to 3 billion euros, or about $3.25 billion, a year.

How it would work: Over$217 billion in Russian central bank assets are held in the E.U., but Russia has not been able to access that money, and the cash it generates, because of sanctions. Under the E.U. plan, 97 percent of profits generated by frozen Russian assets as of Feb. 15 would go to Ukraine.

Risks: The European Central Bank warned that using assets from another country’s central bank could harm Europe’s reputation as a safe place to store money.

More from Ukraine: Ukrainians said that defending places with little strategic value is worthwhile, especially because the attacking Russians face a higher cost.

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