Russia should confiscate Western assets now after U.S. move, top lawmaker says

Russian parliament speaker Volodin attends a session during a vote for the pension reform bill at the State Duma in Moscow
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia now has grounds to confiscate Western assets after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow the potential transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine, a top Russian lawmaker said on Monday.

"Washington has passed a law on the confiscation of Russian assets in order to provoke the EU to take the same step, which will be devastating for the European economy," Vyacheslav Volodin, the Duma speaker and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said.

"Our country now has every reason to make symmetrical decisions in relation to foreign assets," said Volodin.

Volodin said that of the $280 billion of Russian assets frozen abroad, only $5 to $6 billion was in the United States while about 210 billion euros ($224 billion) was in the European Union.

NBC said the House passed the "REPO Act" which would allow the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to confiscate billions of dollars’ worth of Russian assets sitting in U.S. banks and transfer them to Ukraine for reconstruction.

($1 = 0.9377 euros)

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Toby Chopra)