Bennet, Portman Introduce Bill to Direct Funds from Seized Russian Assets to Support Ukraine

Bipartisan Bill Holds Russia Accountable for the War by Directing Funds from Seized Russian Assets into New Ukraine Relief Fund

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the bipartisan RELIEF for Ukraine Act to require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to direct any funds resulting from the disposal of seized Russian assets to support Ukrainian refugees and reconstruction. On March 2, 2022, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced TaskForce KleptoCapture to use all DOJ authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate U.S. sanctions, many of whom have amassed fortunes through criminality and corruption.

“Putin and his inner circle bear direct responsibility for the war in Ukraine and the shameful death, destruction, and dislocation it has unleashed,” said Bennet. “Our bill makes Putin and Russian oligarchs pay the price by ensuring that funds from their seized assets go directly to the Ukrainian people to support them through many difficult years ahead of resettlement, reconstruction, and recovery.”

“Right now Ukraine is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since War World II – they need our help. One way to help is to move from freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs and wealthy citizens to seizing their assets, and providing that funding to people of Ukraine to help with ongoing humanitarian efforts,” said Portman. “This legislation will direct the Department of Justice to direct any funds seized, as a result from their Task Force KleptoCapture, to a new Ukrainian Relief Fund to support Ukrainian refugees and the reconstruction of Ukraine. I encourage all of my colleagues to support this critical legislation so that we can apply more pressure on Russia to stop this barbaric war and prioritize more rapid relief for our friends in Ukraine.”

The bipartisan Repurposing Elite Luxuries Into Emergency Funds (RELIEF) for Ukraine Act requires the DOJ to allocate funds from the disposal of seized Russian into a new Ukraine Relief Fund, which will be administered by the Department of State in consultation with the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Fund may be used to support the safety, health, and wellbeing of Ukrainian refugees, along with the general reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine in areas not controlled by the Russian Federation.

The bill text is available HERE. A one-page summary of the bill is available HERE.