US Senate Committee approves plan for Russian asset confiscation to aid Ukraine

January 25,2024 726
US Senate Committee approves plan for Russian asset confiscation to aid Ukraine

A US Senate Committee has approved a bill to facilitate the confiscation of Russian assets and their transfer to Ukraine for reconstruction, as reported by Reuters. 20 members of the committee supported the decision.

It is the “Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act”.If it were to pass the full Senate and House of Representatives and be signed into law by President Joe Biden, as expected, the act would pave the way for Washington’s first-ever seizure of central bank assets from a country with which it is not at war,” journalists write. 

Committee representatives are hopeful for a successful consensus on the document. Senator Ben Cardin, the Democratic foreign relations committee chairman, states that the bill enjoys broad support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as from the Biden administration.

“Ukraine is on the verge of being overrun by Russia if we do not give them the help that they need… and we all know that it will not end with Ukraine,” he said, before the committee voted.

The one “no” vote on the panel came from Republican Senator Rand Paul. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a similar bill.

Cardin hopes that the Senate and the House of Representatives can resolve differences between the two bills.

The EU, United States, Japan and Canada froze some $300 billion of Russian central bank assets in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. Only about $5 billion to $6 billion are in the United States, with most held in Europe, and most of those in Belgium’s Euroclear central securities depositary,Reuters said.

In December, the US proposed to the countries of the G7 to analyze possible ways of confiscating US$300 billion of frozen Russian assets. Ukraine’s partners aim to coordinate the action plan before the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Cover: Shutterstock

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