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Article United States: President Signs Law Creating Mechanism for Delivering Seized Russian Assets to Ukraine

On April 24, 2024, President Biden signed into law H.R. 815, a consolidated $95.2 billion supplemental appropriations package providing security assistance and foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to appropriations, this legislation includes provisions that permit the federal government to use seized Russian sovereign assets to support humanitarian causes in Ukraine. These provisions, titled the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, or the REPO for Ukrainians Act, constitute division F of the new law.

Shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine in 2022, several governments, including the United States, Australia, Japan, and European Union (EU) nations, froze or immobilized Russian sovereign assets held within those jurisdictions. By some estimates, the value of these assets totaled over $280 billion in 2022. Over the past two years, these governments have not reached consensus on how to handle these funds. The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations previously expressed a willingness to use “revenues held by private entities stemming directly from Russia’s immobilized sovereign assets to support Ukraine.” EU leaders recently endorsed a plan to use profits from these assets to spend up to $3 billion annually on delivering arms and ammunition to Ukraine. The REPO for Ukrainians Act goes further by establishing mechanisms and procedures to use seized Russian sovereign assets to support and rebuild Ukraine.

Under this new legislation, the President may seize Russian sovereign assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction and transfer them to a newly established account called the “Ukraine Support Fund.” The money in the Ukraine Support Fund can be used for specific purposes, including economic and humanitarian assistance in Ukraine; reconstruction, rebuilding, and recovery efforts related to the war; and “contributions to an international body, fund, or mechanism . . . that is charged with determining and administering compensation or providing assistance to Ukraine.” (H.R. 815, div. F, § 104(f)(2).)

The legislation also contains reporting, accounting and transparency requirements. For example, the Secretary of State must notify relevant congressional committees before funds are disbursed from the Ukraine Support Fund. (§ 104(f)(3).) Within 15 days of receiving a notice from the Secretary of State, Congress may prohibit a funds transfer by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval. (§ 104(h).)

The act further directs the President to coordinate with the G7, the European Union, and other nations to create an international fund called the “Ukraine Compensation Fund.” (§ 105(a).) This fund will be used to collect Russian sovereign assets seized by the U.S. and its foreign partners, such as those collected in the Ukraine Support Fund. (§ 105(a).) Like the Ukraine Support Fund, this international fund must meet several accounting, transparency, and good governance requirements. (§ 105(b).)

Many of the specific details related to the Ukraine Compensation Fund, including which nations will participate and how it will operate, have not yet been decided. During an April 24 White House press briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan commented, “[T]he G7 has said collectively that Russia’s assets are going to remain immobilized until they are put to use for recovery in Ukraine. The precise way in which that happens, the mechanism . . . is still a matter of consultation with our European partners.” Sullivan stated that this topic will be discussed during the G7 summit in June.

Anna Price, Law Library of Congress
May 8, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Price, Anna. United States: President Signs Law Creating Mechanism for Delivering Seized Russian Assets to Ukraine. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-07/united-states-president-signs-law-creating-mechanism-for-delivering-seized-russian-assets-to-ukraine/.

APA citation style:

Price, A. (2024) United States: President Signs Law Creating Mechanism for Delivering Seized Russian Assets to Ukraine. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-07/united-states-president-signs-law-creating-mechanism-for-delivering-seized-russian-assets-to-ukraine/.

MLA citation style:

Price, Anna. United States: President Signs Law Creating Mechanism for Delivering Seized Russian Assets to Ukraine. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-05-07/united-states-president-signs-law-creating-mechanism-for-delivering-seized-russian-assets-to-ukraine/>.