The Biden administration is backing a proposed law that would enable the confiscation of at least some of the $300 billion frozen Russian assets to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine.

This is according to a Bloomberg report, which cites a November memo from the National Security Council to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In response to this document, President Biden’s administration says it welcomed the proposal “in principle” to establish a bill that would allow it to confiscate the funds for this purpose.

“The bill would provide the authority needed for the executive branch to seize Russian sovereign assets for the benefit of Ukraine,” the NSC said in the memo, one of three such communications seen by Bloomberg News.

A senior US administration official told the news agency that this measure is seen as one of the tools that could be used to hold Russia accountable for the harm inflicted on Ukraine during the war.

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The World Bank currently estimates that a minimum of $411 billion is required for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

While the National Security Council and the office of Ben Cardin, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, refrained from commenting, the State Department stated that, in collaboration with its G7 partners, the US government is exploring “all options consistent with US respective legal systems and international law to aid Ukraine in obtaining compensation from Russia.”

Ukraine Urges West to Give it Frozen Russian Assets
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Ukraine Urges West to Give it Frozen Russian Assets

Calls have been mounting in Washington and Europe to set up a fund for Ukraine using billions of dollars in Russia assets frozen by the West over Moscow's 2022 invasion.

Since the onset of the full-scale war in Ukraine, Western nations froze approximately half of the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Bank of Russia - amounting to about $300 billion - with most of these funds located in Europe.

Discussions on utilizing these assets have been ongoing among EU authorities since at least the autumn of 2022.

However, countries like Germany, France, and Belgium, have still been hesitant to take control of the assets. They have concerns centered on legal issues, particularly the protection that international law offers to sovereign assets.

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In the summer of 2023, an EU special working group determined that there was no legal basis for such action.

Still, according to a recent Financial Times report, G7 nations are stepping up their efforts to reach a consensus on redirecting a portion of the $300 billion in frozen assets to Ukraine.

Some officials suggest that channeling these assets towards Ukraine could support its defense efforts, facilitate reconstruction, and encourage an end to the 21-month-old full-scale Russian invasion.

In recent weeks, as cited in the report, the United States has taken a firm stance during private discussions, emphasizing the viability of asset confiscation “in accordance with international law.”

In the US, a two-month-long debate persists over the allocation of a proposed $60 billion in aid to Ukraine. While the Biden administration supports the initiative, Congressional Republicans have withheld their support for the relevant bill.

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Comments (3)

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Edlund
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International lawyers I've heard in podcasts and in testimony before the US Congress in the last few months say that it is legal to confiscate this $300 billion. Putin started an aggressive war. That is illegal under international law. He has prosecuted it with methods that are war crimes. Thus, he is under indictment by the ICC. International law doesn't require a court order to confiscate these funds. Prima facie evidence of war crimes gives nations the legal authority to seize the assets. The argument that Putin will seize western assets is not relevant. He's already seized the western businesses in Russia who left when in invaded Ukraine. And if he does more of that, we'll go after Russian assets. Like all the oil shipments he relies on for revenue. He's on the hook for reparations to rebuild Ukraine as well. Russian assets are going to be tied up in reparations for decades. We must do this. No dithering. We want his heart and mind to come to reality. We need to do this. We cannot temporize with him.

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john
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Yes, Yes, Yes......past time for all Ukraine allied nations to do the same. The burden of funding Ukraine's defence during putins illegal invasion should be place as fully as possible on the nation that keeps him in office.

Russian kleptocrats / oligarchs and citizenry, if you don't want to see all your foreign frozen assets repurposed to justly support Ukraine's defence and putin inflicted damage reparations, then you had best act quickly. Allied citizens are all demanding their leadership immediately do this Russian asset 'repurposing' to both help Ukraine while also reducing our economic burdens in dealing with the crimes your leadership is inflicting. We are game to see them enact whatever wartime legal measures are needed to make this happen ASAP. Prior rules which you thought protected your foreign assets do not apply for a nation lead by criminal leaders at war with democracies.

I imagine you you have some thoughts on plausible ways to stop your current criminal regime's intent to escalate more damage on Ukraine. Be fast.

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Putler hater
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Seizing the assets is likely the only way for Ukraine to receive reparations from Russia; at least while Putin aka Russian Hitler and those who think like him remain in power.

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