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Estonia and USA sign a historic agreement on directing confiscated profits into helping Ukraine


Müncheni julgeolekukonverents
Estonia and USA sign a historic agreement on directing confiscated profits into helping Ukraine rebuild their electricity infrastructure.
Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna attended the signing of a cooperation agreement between Estonia and the USA on Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, aimed at helping to rebuild Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure with confiscated proceeds of crimes.

The agreement signed between the Estonian Ministry of Justice and the US Department of Justice directs nearly €500 000 into rebuilding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The project will be managed by the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV). “Our wish is to ensure long-term and systematic assistance to Ukraine,” Tsahkna said at the signing. “Russia continues to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and with this agreement, the United States and Estonia will help to restore this infrastructure and ensure its operations by using the profits of a company that tried to violate the sanctions imposed against Russia.”

“This way, we are offsetting the damages of the aggression by using the profits of a company that attempted to contribute to Russia’s aggression,” Tsahkna added. He noted that today was proof of the fact that the sanctions imposed against Russia were working and international cooperation on preventing the circumvention of sanctions was bearing fruit.

Tsahkna emphasised that we must make quick progress with helping Ukraine by using the frozen assets of Russia and of individuals who contributed to the aggression. “Today’s agreement is just one example of what we can and should do to help Ukraine to victory – we have so much more to give. European Union and G7 countries already hold nearly €300 billion worth of frozen Russian assets. We have proven that these assets are directly linked to Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine. Now it is time for actions instead of words. It must go into offsetting the destruction caused in Ukraine.”

“The message to Russia is clear. There will be no flexibility or returning to business as usual before Ukraine has won and the damage caused to Ukraine has been compensated,” Tsahkna emphasised.

In March 2023, the US Department of Justice confiscated $484 969 worth of proceeds of crime related to a smuggling case involving an attempt to sell a jig grinder to Russia, which is prohibited without a relevant licence because it is used in nuclear proliferation and defence programmes. The grinder did not arrive in Russia as a result of the investigation. In addition confiscating the grinder, US authorities, with active support from Estonia’s Prosecutor’s Office and Tax and Customs Board, charged several individuals and companies that were part of the smuggling network. The crime was discovered in the United States but it involved a company registered in Estonia.

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