US Justice Dept. mulls using frozen Russian assets for Ukraine needs
Moscow has continually asserted that the attempts to confiscate frozen Russian assets amount to a confiscation of property in contravention of international law.
The US Department of Justice is seeking congressional approval to utilize frozen Russian assets in support of Ukraine, as stated by US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
When asked about the fate of Russia's foreign assets which were frozen as part of sanctions against Moscow, Monaco informed CBS News on Sunday that they are pursuing authorization from Congress to allocate the proceeds from these assets for the "benefit of the Ukrainian people."
In July, the G7 group declared that Russian assets would remain frozen until Moscow compensates Ukraine for the alleged "damage" caused during the conflict.
Western nations have frozen Russia's foreign currency reserves and suspended international payments from Russian banks as part of sanctions imposed on Moscow following its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Moscow has consistently argued that the efforts to seize frozen Russian assets constitute an expropriation of property in violation of international law.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has affirmed that Russia will take all necessary steps to recover these assets, given the illegality of their confiscation.
In May, citing data from the European Commission (EC), the total value of Russian private assets frozen in the European Union due to sanctions reached 24.1 billion euros ($25.9 billion), according to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
The frozen assets increased from 18.9 billion euros in December to 24.1 billion euros in May, the newspaper reported, adding that approximately 1,473 individuals and 205 companies from Russia are now sanctioned by the EU.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, nearly half of Russia's foreign currency reserves have been sanctioned, amounting to about $300 billion, as part of the West's draconian sanction campaign against the country.
The newspaper cited an unpublished EC document, which stated that the assets of the Bank of Russia "cannot be touched since once the war ends, they will have to be returned to Russia." EC experts have reached that "sobering conclusion" despite having claimed that "there is political will but legal barriers are high."
Alternatively, the EC has mulled over the idea of investing the currently frozen assets of the Bank of Russia in such a way as to use the interest gained as support for Kiev. However, it remained that the EC's legal service has yet to find a solution to what would happen if the EU loses the invested funds under any circumstances.