Skip to content
Edit post

US official: Frozen Russian assets won't be returned until Moscow pays for Ukraine's reconstruction

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 9, 2023 8:41 PM 2 min read
Workers demolish a bombarded block of flats amid reconstruction efforts in Irpin, Kyiv Oblast, on May 13, 2023. Irpin was targeted by indiscriminate Russian bombardments at the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. (Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The roughly $300 billion in Russian assets that have been frozen by Ukraine's allies in the West will not be returned until Moscow pays for Ukraine's reconstruction, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O'Brien said at a U.S. Senate hearing on Nov. 8.

O'Brien said the frozen assets gave the U.S. and its allies "leverage" in discussions about how to get Russia to pay.

When asked what the U.S. would do if Russia refused to pay and blocked attempts to be forced to do so via its UN Security Council veto, O'Brien agreed with the suggestion that the "U.S. should consider all options" to force Russia to pay.

Russian officials issued strongly worded responses to O'Brien's statement, with some saying that it was an admission the assets would be seized.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian parliament's lower house, characterized it as a declaration to "steal" the assets but then also claimed it would not affect the Russian economy.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would challenge any attempt to seize the money and that it would entail "very serious judicial and legal costs for those who make such decisions." Peskov also threatened that Russia would respond with retaliatory measures, which would be "unlikely to be minor ones."

Earlier on Oct. 27 European leaders had expressed support for a proposal to use billions of euros in windfall taxes from Russian assets tied up in the West to rebuild Ukraine.

Russian officials also reacted unfavorably to the notion, referring to any confiscation of assets as "theft" and threatening to do the same to European assets.

During Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s allies have frozen over $300 billion from Russia's central bank reserves, including 211 billion euros in the EU.

There have been suggestions since shortly after the beginning of the full-scale invasion that seized Russian assets should be used to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction, but concrete measures have not been taken yet.

Estimates on the cost of Ukraine's reconstruction have varied. A report by the World Bank in March 2023 put the figure at $411 billion, but others have put the number at higher than $1 trillion.

EU leaders endorse plan to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine, but fight not over
Ukraine may have gotten one step closer to gaining access to frozen Russian assets to put toward its massive reconstruction needs. European Union leaders on Oct. 27 expressed support for a proposal to use billions of euros in windfall taxes from Russian assets tied up in the West to rebuild

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

9:50 PM

Media: Zelensky may visit Armenia in near future.

President Volodymyr Zelensky may visit Armenia in “the near future,” the Armenian news outlet FactorTV reported on Feb. 23. Preparations for the visit are currently underway, but the exact date has not yet been confirmed, the outlet reported, citing its sources.
7:23 PM

Canada announces new sanctions against Russia.

Canada's new sanctions will target those who provide Russia with military equipment, offer services such as insurance to Russian soldiers, and otherwise help support the finances and logistics of the Russian state
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
2:36 PM

Ukraine, Denmark finalize long-term security agreement.

The U.K., Germany, and France have earlier signed similar deals to help Ukraine repel Russia's aggression based on a pledge made by the Group of Seven (G7) last July. Denmark is the first non-G7 country to finalize the deal.
1:59 PM

Biden announces new package of sanctions against Russia.

“Today, I am announcing more than 500 new sanctions against Russia for its ongoing war of conquest on Ukraine and for the death of Aleksei Navalny, who was a courageous anti-corruption activist and Putin’s fiercest opposition leader,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement published by the White House.
1:40 PM

US Senate Majority Leader arrives in Lviv for talks with Zelensky.

"I am leading this delegation to meet with President (Volodymyr Zelensky) to show the Ukrainian people that America stands with them, to show our NATO and European allies we stand with them, to learn about the arms Ukraine vitally needs, and to protect our democracy and national security," Chuck Schumer wrote on the social media platform X.
12:58 PM

Zelensky, Danish PM meet in Lviv.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen arrived in Lviv for an official visit, Zelensky said on Feb. 23, according to his Telegram channel.
12:33 PM

Ex-US special representative for Ukraine: Putin would escalate if he could.

The White House's strategy to avoid escalation by setting limits on military supplies for Ukraine does not work, as Russian President Vladimir Putin would "escalate today if he could," Kurt Volker, a former U.S. special representative for Ukraine, told the Kyiv Independent during a press conference on Feb. 23.
11:49 AM

EU adopts 13th package of Russia sanctions.

The package targets an additional 106 individuals and 88 entities involved in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The list includes includes companies from India, Sri Lanka, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, and Turkey.

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.