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Russia threatens to decrease diplomatic relations with US in response to REPO Act

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 25, 2024 10:11 PM 2 min read
The U.S. House of Representatives and Capitol Dome on May 28, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)
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Russia could lower its level of diplomatic relations with the U.S. if confiscated frozen Russian assets are transferred to Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian state-controlled media on April 25.  

Earlier this week, the U.S. government passed the REPO Act that would allow the seizure and transfer of frozen Russian assets held in the U.S. to Ukraine. The bill was signed alongside a $95 billion foreign aid bill that included $61 billion for Kyiv.

The U.S. is now the first Western country to adopt legislation green-lighting confiscating frozen Russian assets for Ukraine.

“Of course, there can be no doubt that we are very consistent on this issue," Ryabkov said. "But depending on how the discussion goes further among our opponents, the nature of the response measures will be determined...Lowering the level of diplomatic relations is one of the options."

The majority of the Russian central bank’s assets that were frozen by the European Union and Group of Seven (G7) are held in the EU. The U.S. holds around 5$ billion worth of Russian assets out of the total of $300 billion frozen by Kyiv’s Western and other allies.

While some partners, like the U.S., have been pushing to funnel these funds directly to Kyiv, European countries have been more hesitant, fearing economic and legal pitfalls.

The EU is instead working on a plan to use the profits generated by the frozen assets to fund defense assistance for Ukraine.

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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