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Medvedev threatens Russia may seize private US assets if Washington seizes frozen Russian reserves

by Martin Fornusek April 27, 2024 11:59 PM 2 min read
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman and former President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting at the Kremlin on Sept. 20, 2022. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russia could seize assets and property of U.S. individuals held in Russia if Washington confiscates Russian sovereign assets, Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, claimed on April 27.

The U.S. Congress recently approved the REPO Act that would allow President Joe Biden's administration to seize Russian assets held at American banks and funnel them to Ukraine.

Western countries and Kyiv's other partners have immobilized around $300 billion of Russian assets in response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with around $5 billion held in the U.S.

"It is obvious that we won't be able to respond symmetrically to the U.S.'s shameless theft of our assets," Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel.

"The reason is clear – we do not have a significant amount of U.S. government property," he said.

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Russia's former president instead threatened that the country's authorities could target money, real estate, and movable property owned by private U.S. individuals but located within Russian jurisdiction.

Medvedev claimed that there is a legal basis for this in the Russian civil code, which posits that Russia may retaliate against the property rights of individuals and entities that imposed certain restrictions on the property of Russian citizens or entities.

While Congress passed the bill setting legal grounds for confiscating Russian assets, it remains unclear how and if Biden plans to take such a step.

Washington has long been one of those allies pushing to funnel Russian funds directly to Kyiv. In turn, European countries have been more hesitant, fearing economic and legal pitfalls. The EU has instead been working on a plan to use the profits generated by the frozen assets to fund defense assistance for Ukraine.

Moscow said it could lower the level of diplomatic relations with the U.S. if Washington seizes Russian assets. Relations between the two countries have already deteriorated significantly since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Explaining Washington’s REPO Act that could kick-start the confiscation of frozen Russian assets
The U.S. on April 20 became the first nation to adopt legislation green-lighting confiscating frozen Russian assets for Ukraine. President Joe Biden signed the REPO Act alongside a $95 billion foreign aid bill that included $61 billion for Kyiv on April 24, setting the legal basis for liquidating i…
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