EU countries to provide up to 60% of $50 billion loan for Ukraine, Italy says

FILE PHOTO: G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in Italy

ROME (Reuters) - European Union countries are set to provide up to 60% of the $50 billion loan that the Group of Seven major democracies have pledged to raise for Ukraine backed by income from frozen Russian assets, Italy's economy minister said on Friday.

The G7 plan for Ukraine is based on a multi-year loan using future revenues from some $300 billion of impounded Russian sovereign funds, the bulk of which are blocked in the European Union.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between European finance ministers in Luxembourg, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said EU states would contribute between "50 and 60%" of the loan disbursement.

His remarks appear to clash with those of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who at the end of the G7 summit in Italy this month said that European states would not be directly involved for now in the issuance of the $50 billion loan.

"We will start discussing the share for the U.S., Canada, Japan and the UK," Giorgetti added.

Russian central bank reserves and other sovereign assets were frozen under G7 sanctions imposed over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Around 190 billion euros of the assets are held in Euroclear, a Belgium-based central securities depository, making the EU a key player in any plan to make use of the assets. The United States holds about $5 billion.

($1 = 0.9358 euros)

(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Gavin Jones and Christina Fincher)