Kremlin warns confiscating Russian assets in US illegal

Russia will legally challenge the expropriation of its reserves in the West and will prepare a response in accordance with its interests, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters.

“This is illegal, it violates all possible rules, and it will be contested, and contested indefinitely, by our country,” he said, commenting on the decision of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives to endorse a bill allowing the US government to transfer some of the confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine.

“Those who make such decisions and take advantage of such decisions will face very serious judicial and legal consequences. Of course, we’ll work on response measures as well,” Peslov added.

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday approved a draft law dubbed the ‘REPO for Ukrainians Act’, which would authorize the president to confiscate frozen Russian assets in American jurisdiction, with the exception of diplomatic property. The secretary of state would then be able to use the money to fund humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts by Ukraine.

The bill, which was approved by 40 members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, presents the expropriation as an enforcement of Russia’s obligations to compensate damage suffered by Ukraine.

“The confiscation and repurposing of Russian sovereign assets by the United States is in the vital national security interests of the United States,” the document claimed.

Under the proposal, Russian assets could also be used to support “the welfare of the people of Ukraine.” The draft law does not specify what kind of spending would qualify.

The US and its allies have frozen an estimated $300 billion worth of Russian sovereign assets as part of their campaign to punish Moscow. There have been numerous calls to confiscate the money and donate it to Kiev, although some Western officials have cautioned that such a move would be illegal. The sponsors of the US bill claim otherwise.

Russia has branded the freezing of its assets as an act of theft and has argued that it undermines Western global influence.

“The fact that they froze our foreign exchange reserves – well, we’ve earned twice as much already. It’s not about this $300 billion, it’s about the erosion of trust in those who behave that way,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in September.

Nations that value their sovereignty and have concerns over possible Western reprisals are increasingly avoiding Western-controlled financial instruments and mechanisms, according to the Russian leadership.

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