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Bloomberg: Republicans warming to idea of using frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 15, 2024 4:19 PM 2 min read
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13, 2023.
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Congressional Integrity Project)
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Seizing Russian assets to cover the costs of aid for Ukraine's war effort is gaining traction among U.S. Republicans, Bloomberg reported on March 15.

A foreign aid bill that includes roughly $60 billion for Ukraine has been stalled for months due to divisions in the U.S. Congress, namely objections from the Republican Party.

The U.S. Senate approved the overall $95 billion funding package on Feb. 13, but it still faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in his chamber despite pressure from the White House and other lawmakers.

The dispute has forced lawmakers to look into alternative ways of funding and delivering critically needed aid to Ukraine.

According to Bloomberg, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is working on a plan that would involve seizing some of the frozen Russian assets to pay for the bill.

Western countries immobilized around $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets after the full-scale invasion broke out in 2022. Only around $5 billion are held in the U.S.

Bloomberg said the idea of seizing them was becoming "increasingly popular among Republicans."

While the larger package remains stalled, U.S. President Joe Biden's administration announced a smaller defense aid package of weapons and equipment for Ukraine worth $300 million earlier this week.

While announcing the package, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said it was made possible thanks to unanticipated cost savings in contracts that the Pentagon negotiated to replace equipment already sent to Ukraine through previous drawdowns.

Sullivan stressed that the package does not replace and should not delay the larger foreign aid bill.

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