Yellen Calls for Frozen Russian Central Bank Funds to Be Given to Ukraine

The US and its allies have frozen $300 billion in Russian assets

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday called for the US and its allies to hand $300 billion in frozen Russian central bank funds to Ukraine, a step that would significantly escalate the Western economic war against Russia.

“It is necessary and urgent for our coalition to find a way to unlock the value of these immobilized assets to support Ukraine’s continued resistance and long-term reconstruction,” Yellen said in Brazil, where Group of 20 finance ministers are meeting this week, according to The Associated Press.

The comments from Yellen mark her most supportive statement of the outright theft of Russian funds to finance the war in Ukraine. The call comes as the Biden administration is still struggling to get Congress to pass the $60 billion it’s seeking to fuel the conflict.

“I believe there is a strong international law, economic, and moral case for moving forward. This would be a decisive response to Russia’s unprecedented threat to global stability,” Yellen added.

The US needs the support of European Countries for the plan as the bulk of the Russian funds, about $200 billion, are held by European banks. The EU is still debating the idea but has approved a law to set aside profits made by the Russian central bank funds to potentially send to Ukraine.

About $67 billion of the Russian money is being held by the US Federal Reserve. US officials have previously expressed concern that spending the Russian funds could make other countries hesitant to keep funds in dollars, thus speeding up global de-dollarization.

Yellen insisted it was “extremely unlikely” that stealing the Russian funds would hurt the dollar or the currencies of US allies. “Realistically, there are not alternatives to the dollar, euro, and yen,” she said.

The White House has come out in support of the plan and says it needs “legislative authorities” from Congress to spend the funds. Legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress to create a fund for Ukraine using Russian money, and the bills have strong bipartisan support.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.