Ukrainian lawyers discussed with a U.S. lawyer the issue of confiscation of frozen Russian assets in favor of Ukraine

The possibility of confiscating frozen assets of the Russian Federation in favor of Ukraine on the basis of the countermeasures doctrine was the topic of a meeting of Ukrainian lawyers with Philip Zelikow, a U.S. international lawyer, last Friday, March 22. The event was organized by the Ukrainian Bar Association and the Dnistrianskyi Center.

Philip Zelikow is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, former Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, and Counselor to the U.S. Department of State. He was one of the first to publicly call for the confiscation of Russian assets at the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

Mr. Zelikow was a member of a team of leading international law experts that drafted a legal memorandum offering states that control Russian assets a mechanism for their confiscation based on the international law doctrine of countermeasures. The group of experts provided a well-founded conclusion that countermeasures do indeed allow for the transfer of frozen assets of the Russian state to a future international compensation mechanism for Ukraine.

The meeting was attended by Mykola Stetsenko, President of the UBA, representatives of the Association's general partners, members of the UBA working group on the development of legal mechanisms for compensation for damages caused by the Russian war against Ukraine, and others. The discussion was moderated by Ivan Horodyskyy, Vice President of the UBA, Director of the Dnistrianskyi Center.

The participants of the meeting discussed the following issues with Philip Zelikow:

  • What are the main legal and political challenges to the confiscation of Russian assets?
  • Countermeasures as a confiscation tool: why is this mechanism the most effective?
  • When can we expect practical decisions on confiscation of Russian assets?
  • What is the impact of confiscation on the global economy and the economy of Ukraine?
  • What can lawyers, law firms and professional associations do to bring the confiscation of Russian assets closer?

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