US proposes giving seized Russian assets to Ukraine — Analysis

The co-sponsors a Senate bill state that Russian oligarchs have to pay for the conflict in Ukraine.

In the US Senate, a bill is being proposed that allows the US to use Russian assets taken by Washington for aiding Ukrainian refugees as well as the reconstruction of Ukraine after war.

The RELIEF (Repurposing Elite Luxuries Into Emergency Funds) for Ukraine Act is being proposed by Colorado’s Democratic senator, Michael Bennet, and his Republican counterpart Rob Portman, of Ohio, the website Axios reported on Tuesday.

The legislation calls for Russian assets seized by the Department of Justice’s newly created Task Force KleptoCapture to be turned into a relief fund for Ukraine that would be managed by the State Department.

To oversee implementation of Washington’s sanctions against Moscow, the unit was set up in early March. “seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions.”The Russian-owned property, including jets and yachts, of Russian businesspeople will be targeted.

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“Right now, Ukraine is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since War World II. They need our help,”Portman explained the necessity of the legislation.

According to UN, almost 3.9 million Ukrainians fled Ukraine after Russia began its military operations in the country one month ago.

“Our bill makes [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Russian oligarchs pay the price by ensuring that funds from their seized assets go directly to the Ukrainian people to support them through the many difficult years ahead of resettlement, reconstruction, and recovery,” Bennet said.

Washington’s response to Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine has included a freeze on the reserves of the central bank, which Russia has decried as “theft,”The ban on imports of oil from the country.

Russia sent its troops into Ukraine on February 24, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

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Moscow demanded Ukraine be declared neutral, and that it not become a member of the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it intended to take over the Donbass via force.

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