US Congress approves bill to transfer frozen Russian assets to Ukraine

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The House Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. Congress has approved a bill to transfer frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, Voice of America reported on Nov. 8.

The bill received 40 votes in favor and two votes against.

Committee chairman Michael McCaul, who tabled the bill, clarified that it demands that the Biden administration transfer frozen Russian sovereign assets to Ukraine. It also prohibits the return of Russian assets to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin until Russia compensates Ukraine.

McCaul went on to say that Russia, China, and Iran are collaborating to undermine the security of the United States and its allies. He warned that Putin's success in Ukraine would only embolden adversaries and jeopardize the national security interests of the US.

"It is beyond time that Russia pay for the war that it created," McCaul said.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States is considering legal options, together with the European Union, to redirect $300 billion in Russian assets to Ukraine’s economic reconstruction and other needs.

On Jan. 26, the European Council Legal Service developed a plan to use frozen assets of the Russian Central Bank, valued at approximately $36.8 billion, for financing Ukraine's reconstruction.

As a result of arrests and various asset confiscation mechanisms involving Russians and their collaborators in Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022, UAH 28.3 billion has been transferred to the state budget.

However, according to news agency Bloomberg, the EU has assessed that it can’t legally confiscate outright frozen Russian assets. Instead the bloc is focusing on using those assets temporarily.

On Oct. 11, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, in a joint conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced plans to create a special fund worth EUR 1.7 billion this year to support Ukraine.

The money for this fund will be sourced from frozen Russian assets within the country. Zelensky declared that Belgium would be the first country to employ frozen Russian assets to provide support to Ukraine.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine