The House passed a bill on Wednesday urging President Biden to sell off frozen assets belonging to Russian oligarchs, including a fleet of multimillion-dollar luxury yachts, which have been seized by federal authorities.
Why it matters: The largely symbolic bill passed overwhelmingly 417-8, as both American and European lawmakers confront how to allocate frozen Russian assets following the Kremlin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the New York Times reports.
- More than a dozen yachts, worth approximately $2.5 billion, belonging to Russian oligarchs have been seized in several countries worldwide since the armed conflict started.
- Authorities have seized Russian-owned yachts docked in Italy, France, Croatia, the U.K., the Dominican Republic, Germany, and Antigua and Barbuda.
What they’re saying: “We would support legislation that would allow some of that money to go directly to Ukraine,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
- “Can we imagine giving all of Russia’s wealth — the yachts, the bank accounts, the villas, the planes — back to Putin and his cronies as Ukraine lies in ruin, as the Ukrainians bury their dead?” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) asked, per the Times report.
- “We cannot imagine doing that. We will not do that.”