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US appeals to France for help in devising ways to use Russian assets for Ukraine

US appeals to France for help in devising ways to use Russian assets for Ukraine Photo: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The United States has asked France to help develop options for the use of frozen Russian assets for Ukraine, according to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

She says that she asked French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to help develop the options requested by the G7 leaders before the June summit after Le Maire publicly rejected her view that there was a legal basis for monetizing the assets.

Yellen says that the United States and its allies will continue to look for options to use the $300 billion in frozen Russian assets.

She says that any action should have a clear legal justification, which became a stumbling block in the talks held this week on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers meeting organized by Brazil.

The US Treasury Secretary says that while some Europeans are skeptical about asset seizures, there are options, such as using assets as collateral for loans and a new proposal for a syndicated loan, which she called "an interesting option."

"There are complicated legal issues here. We agree that whatever we do has to have a firm international legal rationale, as well as domestic rationale. We’re going to continue to work. (Le Maire's) staff are working with ours. We urged him to help us come up with options, options that we can present to the leader," she emphasizes.

Russian assets confiscation

At the end of last year, the Financial Times reported that the United States proposed that the G7 countries confiscate $300 billion of Russian assets. The plan was supposed to be agreed upon by the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but it never materialized.

Recently, the topic of confiscation of Russian assets has become increasingly relevant. In particular, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that there is strong international law, economic, and moral arguments in favor of such measures.

At the same time, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen proposed to confiscate Russia's assets to finance military assistance to Ukraine.