Germany ready to use revenues from frozen Russian assets, ministry sources say

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany is open to using the revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine's war effort, sources at the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will push finance ministers from the Group of Seven major democracies meeting in Italy next week to agree to a plan to bring forward the interest earnings on frozen Russian assets to provide money to Ukraine quickly, a senior U.S. Treasury official said on Friday.

"If there is a legally viable mechanism that will enable us to make even better use of these financial flows from the frozen assets in the future, then we are certainly prepared to do so," one German source said.

G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how to best exploit some $300 billion worth of Russian financial assets, such as major currencies and government bonds, that were frozen shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The Ukrainian finance minister will attend the meeting, the sources said.

The German government is reserved about U.S. plans to also use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine.

"Our position remains: it is about the income from the frozen assets. It's not about the assets themselves," said government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit in Berlin on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance also said that the income would be used. "However, the existence of Russian central bank assets remains unaffected. This means that fundamental principles of international law such as state immunity are preserved."

(Reporting by Maria Martinez and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Kirsten Donovan)