US Senate reluctant to seize frozen Russian assets – former ambassador to Ukraine

The US Senate is not yet ready to take decisive steps, says John Herbst
The US Senate is not yet ready to take decisive steps, says John Herbst

The U.S. Senate is not ready to pass a law to enable the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2003-2006, John Herbst, said in an interview with NV.

A committee in the Senate is currently working on a bill that would give the U.S. government authority to use windfall profits from the frozen assets for Ukraine aid, the former ambassador said.

Read also: Ukraine plans to rebuild and arm using frozen Russian assets, states FM Kuleba

“It's a good step, but it is still not decisive yet,” said Herbst.

“They have to pass that law, and then the administration has to work to achieve that goal. I know that they are not yet ready to pass [a law] specifically on assets and hand them over to Ukraine. It [the currently discussed bill] is about [using profits] from these assets, and not about the assets themselves.”

Read also: EU envoys greenlight using frozen Russian assets for Ukraine aid

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy indicated in mid-December 2023 that plans were taking shape to divert Russia's frozen foreign holdings, amounting to roughly $300 billion, to Ukraine.

Read also: EU’s Borrell shades Trump’s boastful ‘peace plan’ to end Russia’s war on Ukraine ‘in 24 hours

The United States forecast difficulties with the use of Russian frozen assets for Ukraine on Jan. 16.

A decision on the fate of frozen Russian assets will be made before the next meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, according to EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 18, according to the EU Council's work plan.

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