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US Senate Foreign Relations Committee update on Ukraine

By Toni Piechota

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has voted 20-1 (Sen. rand Paul a predictable oppositional vote) to approve sending money from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, according to Reuters.

The legislation, “Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act,” must still pass Senate and House votes before it can be signed into law by President Biden.

This legislation would give the president the authority to provide assistance to Ukraine from billions of dollars from assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and sovereign assets of the Russian Federation.

However, the money appears to be earmarked for rebuilding, and not for the weapons that Ukraine needs now.

According to a press release by the office of Senator Whitehouse, the money would “…help Ukraine rebuild after it beats back the Russian invasion, seizing and repurposing the Putin regime’s frozen funds is the right place to start.”

The REPO for Ukrainians Act passed the Foreign Relations Committee by a 20 to 1 vote.  The legislation:

  • Ensures Putin foots the bill for the damage caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Gives the president the authority to confiscate Russian sovereign assets that have been frozen in the United States and transfer them to assist in Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.

  • Prohibits the release of funds to sanctioned Russian entities until Russia withdraws from Ukraine and agrees to provide compensation for harm caused by its unprovoked war. 

  • Instructs the president to work with allies and partners to establish an international compensation mechanism to transfer confiscated or frozen Russian sovereign assets to assist Ukraine.

  • Gives the State Department additional resources to work with partners and allies abroad toward the goal of confiscation of additional Russian sovereign assets in other countries.

Support for the bipartisan bill provided by Lawrence H. Summers, Former Secretary of the Treasury, Dora Chomiak, CEO of Razom for Ukraine, and other Ukrainian supporters internationally as well as President Zelinsky.


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