Russia tries to unfreeze gold reserves for climate funds at COP28

Delegates walk at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai

DUBAI (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday it was looking into whether its frozen gold reserves, taken after Russia invaded Ukraine, could be used to fund the climate damage fund to help developing countries.

In what looked like an attempt to try to fulfil Moscow's aim of doing "everything possible" to stop the West from seizing its frozen reserves, Russia's climate envoy said at the COP28 summit the move would help to close the gap between developed and developing countries in dealing with climate change.

It is unlikely to be agreed upon. The West froze around half - or more than $300 billion - of Russia's international reserves after Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February last year.

Kyiv wants the proceeds from Russian frozen assets to be used to help rebuild the country -- something many in the West want to happen but which has been complicated by legal questions and the move's possible future ramifications.

"We are ready to announce that Russia is looking into the voluntary contribution of finance to the loss and damage fund from the frozen national gold reserves held by international organisations," Ruslan Edelgeriev, Russia's climate representative, said on the main stage at COP28 in Dubai.

"It is a step dictated by the need to close the gap between developing and developed countries."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by David Evans)