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U.S. lawmakers urge Biden to sell Russian yachts for Ukraine aid

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 Ukrainethe 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.”


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