PARIS, France - Germany must freeze assets of Russian oligarchs immediately as part of sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck urged on Thursday.
'The assets of oligarchs must be frozen immediately and I assume that the relevant agencies of the federal government will take the necessary steps', Habeck told reporters in Berlin following talks with German business leaders.
The process of freezing the assets of Russian billionaires in Germany would involve the finance and justice ministries of Germany as well as the chancellery, he added.
Since Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Western governments have sought to freeze the oligarchs' overseas assets along with Putin's as well as prevent them from traveling.
The goal is two - pronged: Sanctions act as both a punishment for Russia's ruling class and a cudgel to try to force Putin to back down.
Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department said it is launching a special unit to help enforce sanctions against Russian Government officials and oligarchs, targeting their yachts, jets, real estate and other assets.