Speaker Johnson Says He Supports Giving Frozen Russian Assets to Ukraine

Stealing Russian funds to fuel the proxy war would mark a significant escalation in the economic campaign against Russia

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said in an interview on Sunday that he supports the idea of giving frozen Russian Central Bank funds to Ukraine to fuel the proxy war, a step that would significantly escalate the US economic campaign against Russia.

Johnson expressed support for the REPO Act, a bill that’s been introduced in both chambers of Congress that would authorize the secretary of state to “provide additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russian Federation, and for other purposes.”

Discussing the REPO Act, Johnson said, “If we can use the seized assets of Russian oligarchs to allow the Ukrainians to fight them, that’s just pure poetry.”

The Biden administration has come out in favor of stealing Russian funds to arm Ukraine, and the REPO Act has strong bipartisan support. The House version of the bill has 80 cosponsors, including 52 Republicans and 28 Democrats.

The US and its allies have frozen about $300 billion in Russian Central Bank funds, including $67 billion that’s held in the US and about $200 billion held in Europe. The EU is looking to set aside 3 billion euros per year for Ukraine using profits made by the Russian funds, but Western banks are warning against the plan.

The banks are concerned that if they’re involved in the transfer of the money, they could be subject to legal action once sanctions on Russia are eased or lifted. They also fear the move would set a dangerous precedent and undermine trust in the Western banking system.

Johnson also floated the idea of loaning money to Ukraine, which is supported by former President Trump. “Even President Trump has talked about the loan concept, where … we’re not just giving foreign aid, we’re setting it up in a relationship where they can provide it back to us when the time is right,” he said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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