The Americans, with the support of the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, proposed to continue the preparations. G7 leaders could discuss the options at a possible meeting on February 24, the newspaper said. February 24 is important because on that day in 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine.
According to insiders, the topic has already been discussed by G7 finance ministers and their representatives this month. Task forces proposed by Washington are looking into the legal issues surrounding the confiscation of Russia's frozen assets and how such a policy is applied and the risks mitigated. They are also exploring options for the best way to organize support for Ukraine.
However, the seizure of Russian assets abroad is an important issue in Europe. Germany, France, Italy and the European Union have already raised concerns about its necessity and legality.
The US circulated an internal discussion paper within the G7 earlier this year that said seizing Moscow's frozen assets would be legal “as a countermeasure to end Russia's aggression”. But Europe, which holds most of Russia's frozen assets, is more wary. This is due to fear of financial stability and possible consequences of Russian retaliation.
Russia has also threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the US following the seizure of foreign assets. Some countries also fear that the discussion of seizing Russian assets represents an alternative to financial packages for Ukraine. These are at risk of stalling due to opposition in the US Congress and Hungary's refusal to back the EU deal.