05.19.22

Daines: Make Putin Pay for His Own War

Introduces bill to use confiscated Russian funds to pay back cost of U.S. assistance

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced a bill to direct President Biden to use confiscated assets from the Russian government to offset the costs of any aid that United States sends to support Ukraine.  

“Vladimir Putin is a thug, and we need to use the money we seized from him and his cronies to pay for the aid we sent to help Ukraine win the war,” Daines said.

Read the bill HERE.

Daines was the first U.S. Senator to visit Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. After returning, he pushed President Biden to take immediate actions to support Ukraine including reestablishing the embassy and sending more lethal aid.

Earlier this month, Daines called for stiffer financial sanctions on Russia.

 

Background:

Daines’ proposal comes after multiple officials at home and abroad have suggested using seized Russian assets to pay back the costs of the war.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration is weighing options for directing tens of billions of dollars in frozen Russian government assets in the United States to the rebuilding of Ukraine.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently discussed the possibility of seizing and using Russian money to rebuild Ukraine in coordination with allies, and she pointed out that doing so might require legislation in the U.S.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, said the European Union should consider seizing frozen Russian foreign exchange reserves to help pay for the cost of rebuilding Ukraine after the war. 

Borrell said it would be logical for the EU to do what the United States did with Afghanistan's central bank assets after the Taliban took that country over. 

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said he was open to a discussion about confiscating assets from Russia's sanctions-hit central bank to help pay for Ukraine's reconstruction.

Kyrylo Shevchenko, governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, said that Russia should eventually be made to pay to repair the damage caused during the invasion.

According to the Atlantic Council, frozen foreign-exchange reserves could help Kyiv fight the war and defray the cost of rebuilding.

According to Brookings, the U.S. and like-minded countries should begin developing proposals for reparations, and eventual reconstruction which includes tapping Russian foreign exchange reserves that are held in central banks outside the country and that have been frozen by their governments.

 

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Contact: Rachel Dumke,  Katie Schoettler