Yellen urges G7 to unlock $350 billion in frozen Russian assets for Ukraine aid

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It is “vital and urgent” for the United States and allies to find a way to tap immobilized Russian assets in helping Ukraine, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in prepared remarks released Monday.

The excerpts of her speech, to be delivered Tuesday in Frankfurt, come as finance leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations are due to gather later this week.

For the latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine war, visit our dedicated page.

G7 allies are warming to a US plan that can raise around $50 billion for Ukraine, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The plan involves a G7 loan backed by future profits from around $350 billion of Russian assets that were immobilized after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the report added.

The US plan will serve as a basis for G7 discussions, an Italian Treasury source confirmed to AFP.

For Italy, which holds the G7 presidency this year, the proposal is an “interesting way forward” and one to be explored further.

Any decision, however, needs the European Union’s support, a solid legal basis and will only be announced when G7 leaders meet in June, the source said.

“If we stand by as dictators violate territorial integrity and flout the international rules-based order, they have no reason to stop at their initial targets,” Yellen said in the speech excerpts.

“I believe it’s vital and urgent that we collectively find a way forward to unlock the value of Russian sovereign assets immobilized in our jurisdictions for the benefit of Ukraine,” she said.

Yellen added that “this will be a key topic of conversation during G7 meetings this week.”

Asked about details of the $50 billion aid package, a senior US Treasury official told reporters on Friday that “we’re certainly trying to make progress on this issue,” without committing to specifics.

Yellen, in the prepared remarks, said that countries “need to continue cracking down on Russian sanctions evasion, including through third parties, and sensitive goods that originate in the US and Europe.”

She expects “the need for collaboration and coordination will only increase” in the future between Washington and allies.

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