Boats, helicopters, real estate and artwork are among the assets frozen so far by the bloc in response to Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

A joint meeting of the EU and US task forces is set to take place later on Friday, with Ukrainian officials participating.
A joint meeting of the EU and US task forces is set to take place later on Friday, with Ukrainian officials participating. (Reuters Archive)

The European Union has so far frozen nearly 30 billion euros in assets from blacklisted Russian and Belarusian individuals and companies under sanctions imposed over Moscow's offensive in Ukraine.

A total of $32 billion (29.5 billion euros) "including assets such as boats, helicopters, real estate and artwork" have been seized, the European Commission said in a statement on Friday.

Another over $212 billion (196 billion euros) of transactions have reportedly been blocked as well. 

The EU's figures were partial, based on data from around half of the EU's 27 member states given to the bloc's "Freeze and Seize" task force operating in coordination with G7 partners, including the United States.

The EU and US have said they will aggressively hunt down and seize assets of those on their blacklists, deemed to benefit from the Kremlin and contribute to its offensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his two adult daughters are on them, along with oligarchs, influential business people and politicians including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and their relatives.

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In light of the atrocities committed by the Russian army, it is more urgent than ever to strengthen our cooperation within the EU and with our international partners, including the US and Ukraine, and step up our efforts to stop the financing of the Kremlin's war machine.

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders

Waves of sanctions

The blacklists of individuals and companies are part of waves of swingeing sanctions imposed by the EU, US and G7 countries since Russia's February 24 offensive in Ukraine, conducted in part from Belarusian territory.

They have been repeatedly expanded, including on Friday in the EU's agreed 5th package of sanctions, which also includes a ban on Russian coal imports and expanded financial sanctions and trade restrictions.

Oligarchs' superyachts and luxurious properties have been prominent assets targeted, with several seized in the EU while others have been sailed out of the jurisdictional reach of the G7 sanctions.

In many cases, ascertaining ownership is a tricky task for authorities, given fiscal smokescreens used by the ultra-wealthy, such as shell companies, trusts and proxies.

It's for that reason the EU and US have set up specific task forces to collate information and coordinate.

The commission said a joint meeting of the EU and US task forces would take place later on Friday, with Ukrainian officials participating.

The next meeting of the EU's task force will be in two weeks.

The bloc's commissioner for financial services Mairead McGuinness said the sanctions were "crucial for imposing economic pain on Putin's regime and those complicit in the war" and implementation of them was "essential".

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Source: AFP