US Transfers Seized Russian Funds to Ukraine

Image copyright: Getty Images [via CNBC]

The Facts

  • US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday approved the transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets seized from Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev to aid war-ravaged Ukraine. In a statement, he said: "While this represents the United States' first transfer of forfeited Russian funds for the rebuilding of Ukraine, it will not be the last."

  • The Justice Department last April charged Malofeyev with violating sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine, saying he was one of the primary sources of funding for pro-Russian separatists in Crimea. In February, Garland authorized Malofeyev's funds for use in Ukraine to "remediate the harms of Russia's unjust war."

The Spin

Anti-Russia narrative

Sanction evasion is a crime, which is why the US is right to prosecute Russian oligarchs helping Putin continue the illegal war. Using frozen Russian assets to counter the costs of Moscow's destruction would show Putin he cannot economically ruin Ukraine and the West.

Pro-Russia narrative

US sanctions against Russia are illegal. The transfer of funds to Ukraine is a high-profile political stunt to suppress Russia, the US de facto enemy in the economic sphere, and is aimed at forcing Ukraine to buy weapons from the US to feed America's military-industrial complex.

Establishment-critical narrative

It's hypocritical to impose sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, but not on the US for invading Iraq for equally unjustified reasons, or on Israel for invading and annexing Arab lands.

Nerd narrative

There's a 5% chance that Russia will use nuclear weapons against Ukraine before 2024 if the US provides Ukraine with any fighter aircraft, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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