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BRUSSELS: EU countries, led by Belgium and Luxembourg, have frozen 18.9 billion euros of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs and entities hit by sanctions over the war on Ukraine, Brussels has said.

Belgium leads the way with 3.5 billion euros blocked, followed by Luxembourg with 2.5 billion, Italy with 2.3 billion and Germany with 2.2 billion, according to EU statistics seen by AFP Friday.

Ireland, Austria, France and Spain were the other members of the 27-country bloc to have frozen more than 1 billion euros each, according to data declared by November 25.

The European Union has imposed repeated waves of unprecedented sanctions against the Russian economy since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

While some EU nations have reported large amounts targeted, others are lagging far behind.

Swiss have frozen $8bn in financial assets under Russia sanctions

Malta, a country that has run a controversial "golden passport" scheme for wealthy investors including Russians, is at the bottom of the list, with 146,558 euros blocked.

Greece is second to last with 212,201 euros.

In total, 1,241 individuals and 118 entities are subject to asset freezes and entry bans in the European Union because of their role in the conflict in Ukraine.

The bloc's executive arm on Thursday wrote to member states to remind them that the freezing of assets of sanctioned individuals and entities was mandatory, as was the provision of data on them.

"However, the information provided and the frequency of updates remain uneven across member states," the letter said.

"This undermines our collective efforts."

The European Union is currently weighing up proposals on ways to use frozen Russian assets to help pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

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