Belgium has unblocked frozen Russian state accounts, Belgium’s foreign minister says.
The assets were seized in a move triggered by a court ruling over the now-defunct Yukos oil company.
In July 2014, an international arbitration court said Russian officials had manipulated the legal system to bankrupt Yukos.
Yukos was then taken over by a Russian state company.
In 2014, a court told Russia to pay Yukos shareholders $50 billion in compensation, after Yukos’s break-up.
But Russia does not acknowledge the court’s findings, leading former Yukos shareholders to get Russian state assets frozen.
Responding to the asset seizure, President Vladimir Putin said he would “defend our interests by the route of justice”.
Belgium’s ambassador to Moscow was summoned to the Kremlin, and told the asset seizure was “an openly hostile act” that “crudely violates the recognized norms of international law”.
While visiting China, Belgium’s Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said: “A solution has been found to unblock as a priority accounts for the running of the embassies, and the rest will follow.”
France also seized Russian state accounts in about 40 banks, along with several buildings.
It is not known if those assets will also be unblocked.
On June 19, Mikhail Khodorkovsky – who was freed in 2013 – said the seizure of Russian assets was “a signal that theft will not escape punishment, no matter how all-powerful the thief was”.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky has not responded to Belgium’s decision to unfreeze the assets.