The European Commission is due to approve next week a legal proposal on using proceeds from Russian assets frozen under sanctions, but doubts in France, Germany and Belgium mean Ukraine would not get the money anytime soon, officials and diplomatic sources told Reuters.
The draft law is expected on 12 December, two days before the year's final summit of the EU's 27 national leaders at which billions of much-needed budgetary and military aid for Kyiv are at stake, as well as advancing Ukraine's membership bid.
The EU executive says some 28 billion euros worth of private Russian assets and a further 207 billion euros of the Russian central bank's funds are arrested in the bloc.
Kyiv would not be getting instant good news either on getting its hands on proceeds derived from the frozen Russian assets, according to diplomats and officials in EU hub Brussels who laid out lingering doubts by the three key capitals.
The Commission's proposal next week would aim to introduce standard rules for handling such assets across all EU states. Unanimous backing of the 27 would be needed to enact it.
The proposal would clarify legal obligations of institutions involved, as well as tasking them to put the immobilised Russian assets aside, according to EU officials.
Crucially, it would not, however, include a direct proposal to transfer new proceeds on those assets into the EU budget, said the officials, quoting litigation risks, management questions and criticism by the European Central Bank.
EU leaders are not expected to give the proposal their final approval at the summit but, possibly, task their 27 governments to work more on it. With heavyweights Germany and France voicing reservations, no quick deal is in sight.
"A group of member states still has legal concerns," said a senior EU diplomat, adding that transferring the funds to central EU coffers was "nothing that I could see happening in the near future."