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Russia should pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction – US

Washington is discussing with partners how Russia’s frozen assets can be used to benefit Kiev, the US treasury secretary said

Washington believes Russia should cover the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN on Saturday. The US is discussing potential ways to use Russian assets frozen in the West but still admits there are certain legal restrictions on what can be done with them, she admitted.

When asked about whether Russia should pay for the “damage” done to Ukraine over the course of the ongoing conflict between Kiev and Moscow, Yellen replied that it was “a responsibility that I think the global community expects Russia to bear.”

“This is something we’re discussing with our partners,” she added, pointing out that “there are legal constraints on what we can do with frozen Russian assets.” The treasury secretary did not elaborate on what the US or its allies could potentially do to Moscow’s assets while remaining within those constraints.

Yellen’s comment came just days after Victoria Nuland, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said that Washington was working on making Moscow help pay for “all that it has broken.” According to Nuland, the US Congress granted the Justice Department authority to use “illicit assets seized from Russian oligarchs” to help rebuild Ukraine.

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“Discussions” were ongoing between Washington and its allies about the Russian central-bank assets as well, she said at that time. Western nations have frozen an estimated total of $300 billion of these assets since the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.

Earlier this week, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reported, citing an internal EU document, that the bloc would eventually have to return the frozen assets to Russia. The money cannot be kept indefinitely by the EU or diverted to Ukraine, the document reportedly states.

Moscow previously slammed any potential Western attempts to transfer seized Russian assets to Ukraine as “barbarism.” If necessary, Russia will respond in kind, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned in February. Russia also repeatedly called the freezing of its assets “theft,” and has also cautioned that it goes against international law.

April 17, 2023 at 01:38AM

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