France Rejects US Call to Give Russian Central Bank Funds to Ukraine

The French finance minister said there's no legal basis for the move

France has rejected a call from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to give $300 billion in frozen Russian central bank funds to Ukraine, a step that would amount to outright theft.

Yellen claimed there was a legal case to support handing the funds to Ukraine to fund the proxy war and future reconstruction, but French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said there wasn’t.

“We don’t think this legal basis is sufficient,” Le Maire said after a G7 finance ministers meeting in Brazil. “This legal basis must be accepted not only by the European countries, not only by the G7 countries, but by all the member states of the world community, and I mean by all the member states of the G20. We should not add any kind of division among the G20 countries.”

The EU is moving forward with a plan to set up a fund for Ukraine using profits made by the frozen Russian money, which Le Maire pointed out. The US has welcomed the plan but wants the EU to go further.

The US needs Europe onboard for the plan since the bulk of the Russian central bank funds, about $200 billion, are being held by European banks. About $67 billion is held by the US Federal Reserve, and legislation has been introduced in Congress to allow the money to be used for Ukraine.

Yellen’s call to fund the proxy war with the Russian central bank funds comes as President Biden is still struggling to get Congress to authorize another $60 billion in spending on the war.

Russia has warned it has ways to respond if the US and its allies go ahead and send the Russian funds to Ukraine. “We have ways to respond. We have also frozen sufficient volumes of financial assets and investments of foreign investors in our securities, all of which transfers we carry out for the owners of our securities,” said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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