The U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has given the green light to the Biden administration to steal money from Russians and deliver it to the corrupt Zelensky government in Ukraine to be used in its post-war restructuring effort.
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, the top Republican on the committee, introduced the bill to the House of Representatives last week. The bill was introduced to the Senate last year but died on the floor after not getting enough support from Democrats.
More than $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets remain frozen globally, Risch said. (See “BIDEN WANTS TO STEAL RUSSIAN ASSETS TO FIGHT THE UKRAINE WAR” 3 May 2022, “SWITZERLAND FREEZES RUSSIAN CRYPTO ASSETS” 8 Mar 2022, and “UKRAINE URGES WEST TO STEAL RUSSIAN MONEY TO PAY FOR WAR DAMAGE” 14 Jun 2022.)
“Given Russia’s brutality and continued war crimes against the Ukrainian people, it is only right that Russian government funds in the United States be seized and repurposed to help Ukraine rebuild its country,” he said.
Risch has been one of the biggest proponents of more war in Ukraine, and has cited the Budapest Memorandum as to why the U.S. is obligated to continue its support for Ukraine.
Rostyslav Shurma, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, told the Financial Times that the whole world needs to work on confiscating Russia’s assets.
“This is important to create the right precedent so that any country that decides to begin an unprovoked war of aggression understands it’ll inevitably face strict financial punishment,” he said.
President Joe Biden said in May 2022 that he wants Congress to speed up a controversial procedure that would allow his administration to sell yachts and other assets that were seized from Russian oligarchs since the start of the Ukraine War.
“We’re going to seize their yachts” and the U.S. will sell off funds that will be used to directly remedy the “harm that Russia caused and help rebuild Ukraine,” he said.
TRENDPOST: The European Central Bank warned the EU against claiming interest off of Russian assets for its own because it could “dent confidence in the euro as a global currency and hurt financial stability,” according to The Financial Times.
“The implications could be substantial: it may lead to a diversification of reserves away from euro-denominated assets, increase financing costs for European sovereigns and lead to trade diversification,” the note from the ECB read.
Risch also mentioned the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that vowed security assurances as long as Ukraine transferred its nuclear arsenal obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union. The U.S. and U.K. vowed to come to Kyiv’s aid in the event of a war, but denied Ukraine’s request for a “legally binding guarantee.”
There is debate on how the memorandum should be interpreted. Some responses pointed out that security assurances are different from vowing to protect territorial integrity. Ukraine once held the world’s third-largest amount of nuclear weapons—about 1,900 strategic warheads, 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 44 strategic bombers.
In April, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said he feels a “personal stake” in the Ukraine War because he said he pressured Ukraine to give up its substantial nuclear arsenal in 1994’s Budapest Memorandum.
Clinton gave an interview to Ireland’s RTE news service and said he got Ukraine “to agree to give up their nuclear weapons. And none of them believe that Russia would have pulled this stunt if Ukraine still had their weapons.”
Last February, Waldemar Skrzypczak, the Polish general and former junior defense minister, said he does not rule out the possibility that Ukraine’s military has nuclear capabilities.
The general said he cannot rule out the theory because Ukraine has “nuclear power plants, scientists, laboratories and know-how.”
“In other words, everything they need to possess such a weapon. In fact, today no one is in a position to prohibit the Ukrainians from having it,” he said.