June 19, 2024

Reaction to sanctions: Putin allows confiscation of US assets

Ukraine and many of its supporters are calling for the confiscation of Russian assets in the West.
Photo Alliance/Associated Press | Michael Mitzel

  • President Putin authorizes the seizure of US assets in Russia by decree.
  • The decree will go into effect if Russian assets in the United States are confiscated.
  • G7 finance ministers discuss how to deal with frozen Russian assets after the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree allowing the confiscation of the assets of American companies and individuals in the event of seizure of Russian assets in the United States. The decree published on Thursday allows Russian companies, the Russian Central Bank and individuals to petition the court to rule that the seizure of assets in the United States is unjustified. If the court approves the request, the State Reparations Commission could expose the assets of American citizens and American companies in Russia for compensation.

This came against the backdrop of a meeting of the G7 finance ministers of the seven major industrialized countries to discuss how to deal with frozen Russian assets in the West after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Ukraine and many of its supporters support the confiscation of a total of $260 billion (240 billion euros) of Russian assets. However, European officials expressed concerns about the legal situation and financial stability.

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In April, US President Joe Biden signed a law allowing the US government to confiscate Russian state assets worth about five billion dollars (4.6 billion euros). However, the United States is unlikely to take such measures without the approval of other members of the G7 and the European Union.

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Putin’s decree constitutes a clear response to the sanctions and asset confiscations imposed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It represents an escalation of the economic and legal conflict between Russia and the West, and Russia’s seizure of foreign assets could escalate tensions and further strain relations between the affected countries.