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Russia Threatens Tit-for-Tat Response if U.S. Allows Transfer of Russian Assets to Kyiv

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Arthur Novosiltsev / Moskva News Agency

Russia has threatened to take a tit-for-tat response after the U.S. Congress passed legislation that would allow the transfer of confiscated Russian assets for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday approved long-delayed military aid to Ukraine that also contains provisions for the Biden administration to sell confiscated Russian assets and hand the proceeds to Kyiv to finance its reconstruction after Moscow’s devastating invasion.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the potential U.S. move as “nothing less than the demolition of all the foundations of the economic system” and “an attack on state property, state assets and private property.” 

“This can’t be perceived as anything other than illegal actions and, accordingly, they will be subject to retaliatory actions and legal proceedings,” Peskov told reporters during a daily briefing.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said earlier Monday that Russian lawmakers could now pass “symmetrical” legislation to allow Moscow to seize Western assets in the country.

Volodin claimed that the U.S. bill was designed to “provoke” the European Union to take similar steps, though other G7 nations have embraced the idea of confiscating Russian assets.

He claimed that similar EU legislation “will be devastating for the European economy” because the U.S. holds up to $6 billion and the EU holds 210 billion euros ($224 billion) of the $280 billion in Russian assets frozen abroad.

Peskov previously told reporters that passage of Washington's $61 billion aid bill would “further enrich the U.S. and ruin Ukraine even more by killing even more Ukrainians.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have welcomed the latest aid package, which had been delayed for months.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the bill on Tuesday.

The United States has been the chief military backer of Ukraine in its war against Russia, but Congress has not approved large-scale funding for its ally for nearly a year and a half, mainly because of cross-aisle bickering.

AFP contributed reporting.

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