US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made an unexpected visit to Kiev on Monday, where she reaffirmed US support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion and promoted US economic aid. She stressed that Russia should bear the cost of the damage caused by its invasion of Ukraine, but there are “serious legal obstacles” to the complete confiscation of frozen Russian assets.
The US Treasury Secretary paid an unannounced visit to Kiev. Janet Yellen during a meeting with the president Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal assured that “America will stand with Ukraine as long as it is necessary.”
Shmyhal said that the issue of further US sanctions against was raised during the conversation Russia and “confiscation of frozen Russian assets and their use for the benefit of Ukraine’s reconstruction.”
Yellen also announced the transfer of the first $1.25 billion of the last $9.9 billion tranche of US economic aid to Ukraine. – Our economic support allows the Ukrainian government and basic public services to operate in extraordinary circumstances – she emphasized and expressed the hope that this money will allow Ukraine to pay teachers, firefighters and help millions of displaced people.
Yellen: legal obstacles to the confiscation of Russian assets
The US Treasury secretary stressed that Russia should bear the cost of the damage caused by its invasion of Ukraine, but there are “serious legal obstacles” to the complete confiscation of frozen Russian assets.
She explained that United States and their allies are discussing strategies to ensure that Russia pays for war damage in Ukraine, estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars and growing every day.
The Reuters agency reminds that the US and Western allies seized sanctions-frozen foreign currency assets of the Russian central bank worth more than $ 300 billion. Assets are held overseas, with much of it at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but remain Russian property.
The head of the U.S. Treasury Department specified that Washington can confiscate assets used in criminal activities, but funds belonging to the central bank and other large pools of assets frozen by sanctions are much more complicated.
Possible further sanctions against Russia
Yellen also promised that the US would look into Ukraine’s calls to impose sanctions on Russia’s nuclear energy sector, but one should be “aware” of the potential consequences of such an action for Western allies.
Reuters points out that Russia’s nuclear energy sector has so far escaped sanctions, mainly because many countries, including France, imports uranium from the Russian company Rosatom. – We want to deprive Russia of these revenues. We need to look at the potential consequences of the sanctions for ourselves and our partners,” Yellen said.
She also reiterated that the US warned China of “really serious consequences” if the Beijing government, Chinese companies or financial institutions provide material support to the Russian military or help Moscow avoid US sanctions. “This is something we would not tolerate,” she said.
The American secretary visited Kiev on her way back to Washington from a meeting of G20 financial leaders in Bengaluru, India, where she called on partners to increase economic aid to Ukraine and urged state ministers the G20 group strongly condemned the Russian invasion.
Main photo source: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/PAP/EPA