NewsCongress considers seizing Russian assets for Ukraine aid amid German concerns

Congress considers seizing Russian assets for Ukraine aid amid German concerns

Congress considers seizing Russian assets for Ukraine aid amid German concerns
Images source: © Getty Images | The Washington Post

3:04 PM EDT, April 12, 2024

House Speaker Mike Johnson of the Republican Party mentioned that Congress might endorse an alternative aid package for Ukraine. This potential package would rely on seizing Russian assets that have been frozen due to sanctions. Interestingly, Germany is reportedly hindering this proposal.

A comprehensive aid package for Ukraine is still pending a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans are blocking it, influenced by former President Donald Trump's urging for its rejection.

The Biden administration has made several attempts to persuade House Speaker Mike Johnson to allow a vote on a multifaceted financial aid package intended for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Despite these efforts, Johnson has yet to agree, as Bloomberg reported.

On Saturday, Johnson announced that Congress might consider an alternative aid package for Ukraine in the coming week. This package could involve loans and the seizure of Russian assets currently under sanctions. However, estimates suggest that the frozen Russian assets within U.S. jurisdiction amount to merely $5-7 billion, which is insufficient to fund even half of the proposed expenses. Most of the nearly $300 billion in frozen assets are in Europe.

David Cameron, the head of British diplomacy, shared on Tuesday that there had been "good progress" in discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on leveraging the frozen Russian funds in the USA and Europe to support Ukraine. He expressed optimism that the G7 countries would soon decide on this issue.

Germany fears Russian retaliation

Western countries have long discussed using approximately $300 billion in frozen Russian assets. However, according to reports, major European nations have been hesitant to seize these funds.

Germany, in particular, opposes this action, fearing that it might provoke retaliation from Russia, including the potential seizure of German company assets in Russia, which could significantly harm its economy, as reported by Die Welt and referenced by Onet. The German Finance Ministry reportedly lacks precise figures on the German assets currently frozen in Russia. According to Ria Novosti, a Russian news agency, the total assets of Western companies in Russia are estimated at 263 billion euros.
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