| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Russian oligarchs to be targeted in U.S. aid package for Ukraine, Schumer says

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday that he would act on a request from the Biden administration to add provisions to a $33 billion Ukraine aid plan that would allow the US to seize Russian oligarchs’ assets and send money from their sale to Ukraine directly.

“Ukraine needs all the help it can get,” Schumer said at a press conference in New York City. “At the same time, we need all the assets we can put together to give Ukraine the relief it needs.”

President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve $33 billion in assistance for Kyiv on Thursday in what would mark a dramatic escalation of U.S. funding for Ukraine more than two months after it was invaded by Russia.

His administration also asked lawmakers to include provisions to help it seize more assets, liquidate them and send Ukraine the money.

Schumer said the provisions being added would streamline the forfeiture process for oligarch-owned properties in the United States, while allowing for expedited reviews in federal court, as requested by the White House.

They would also make it a criminal offense to knowingly possess proceeds obtained from “corrupt dealings” with the Russian government, he said.

“It’s time for sanctioned Russian oligarchs to be held accountable for the ill-gotten wealth that they have received,” Schumer said.

The U.S. House of Representatives signaled its support for giving the administration more power to target oligarchs profiting from their association with Russian President Vladimir Putin when it approved non-binding legislation on Wednesday.

The $33 billion in funding for Ukraine, which lawmakers have said they want to approve quickly, would be used to provide Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and other military assistance, as well as direct economic and humanitarian aid.

  • Reuters