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US Congress paves the way for the confiscation of frozen Russian assets

Congress became the first among G7 parliaments to adopt the legislature allowing the confiscation of Russian assets.
US House Ukraine aid Johnson
US Congress in session, voting on the foreign aid bill on Ukraine, on April 20, 2024. Screenshot from live recording via YouTube.
US Congress paves the way for the confiscation of frozen Russian assets

The US House of Representatives has passed the REPO Act as part of a larger foreign aid package, granting the Biden administration the authority to seize billions of dollars in frozen Russian assets held in US banks and redirect them to a special fund for Ukraine’s reconstruction, the NBC reports. Congress passed the Act as part of a larger package, including $61 billion in security and financial aid for Ukraine.

US passes long-awaited Ukraine aid package. Here is what it contains

When Russian invaded Ukraine in 2022, the G7 countries collectively froze over $300 billion in Russian foreign currency reserves.

The passage of the REPO Act marks a significant step forward in the international community’s efforts to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery in the wake of the ongoing war with Russia. The adopted bill No. 8038 on the use of frozen assets of the Russian Federation for Ukraine means that Russian money can start working for Ukraine soon. 

More importantly, this is the first example of the law that finally creates an effective mechanism for the confiscation of Russian assets in favor of Ukraine. Now, it will be even more difficult for Ukraine’s European partners to refuse to do the same.

The Act specifically targets the $6 billion in frozen Russian assets currently held in US banks, which form part of the larger $300 billion frozen by G7 countries, with the majority held in Germany, France, and Belgium.

While the idea of confiscating Russian assets has been met with some criticism, with concerns raised about potential long-term impacts on the US dollar’s status as the primary global reserve currency, proponents argue that the move sends a strong message to autocratic nations worldwide. 

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