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U.S. Treasury Chief Wants Frozen Russian Assets to Be Sent to Ukraine

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nelson ALMEIDA
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nelson ALMEIDA

On Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen extended her support for the reappropriation of frozen Russian Central Bank holdings to Ukraine.

Speaking in Sao Paulo at a G20 finance minister's meeting, Yellen stated, “it is necessary and urgent for our coalition to find a way to unlock the value of these immobilized assets to support Ukraine’s continued resistance and long-term reconstruction.” The secretary described her proposal as having “a strong international law, economic, and moral case for moving forward.”

Yellen’s comments echoed the recent remarks by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who told The Sunday Times this week that, "we must be bolder in seizing the hundreds of billions of frozen Russian assets."

The issue of Moscow's sanctioned financial capital has come at a time when the Biden administration and Congress are at odds over spending an additional $61 billion in military assistance for Kiev. The U.S. taxpayers have already sent an estimated $75 billion to the beleaguered nation, making it Washington’s top recipient of foreign aid.

After Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and other Western nations froze $285 billion of the country's overseas cash reserves. More than two-thirds of the affected currency is held with the Belgian based settlement company Euroclear.

The E.U. has been reportedly debating this issue for more than a year.

Related Story: Oversight Committee Demands Account of All Economic, Military Aid to Ukraine

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