Washington is asking world leaders to send the frozen funds of the Russian Central Bank to Ukraine

Janet Yellen / Photo EPA-EFE / SASCHA STEINBACH

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today expressed her strongest public support so far for the idea of ​​permanently seizing about $300 billion in frozen assets of the Central Bank of Russia and using them for the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine.

"It is necessary and urgent that our coalition (in support of Ukraine) find a way to uncover the value of this seized property in order to support Ukraine's continued resistance and its long-term reconstruction," Yellen said in a statement prepared for the group's meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 (G-20) meet.

"I believe there is a strong international legal, economic and moral argument for progress (toward that solution). It would be a decisive response to the unprecedented Russian threat to world stability," Yellen said.

The US and its allies have frozen hundreds of billions of dollars in Russian central bank funds held abroad in retaliation for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Those billions are unused, and the war has entered its third year as officials from several countries debate the legality of sending that money to Ukraine. More than two-thirds of the Central Bank of Russia's retained assets are located in the EU.

"Using those funds to help Ukraine "would clearly show that Russia cannot win by continuing the war and would encourage it to come to the table and negotiate a just peace with Ukraine," Yellen said.

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