Apr 27, 2022 - World

U.S. lawmakers urge Biden to sell Russian yachts for Ukraine aid

Russian yacht Flying Fox at the Don Diego port, in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic on April 1, 2022.

A yacht belonging to Russian oligarch Dmitry Kamenshchik at the Don Diego port, in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic on April 1. Photo: Erika Santelices

The House passed a bill on Wednesday urging President Biden to sell off frozen assets belonging to Russian oligarchs, including a fleet of multimillion-dollar luxury yachts, which have been seized by federal authorities.

Why it matters: The largely symbolic bill passed overwhelmingly 417-8, as both American and European lawmakers confront how to allocate frozen Russian assets following the Kremlin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the New York Times reports.

  • More than a dozen yachts, worth approximately $2.5 billion, belonging to Russian oligarchs have been seized in several countries worldwide since the armed conflict started.
  • Authorities have seized Russian-owned yachts docked in Italy, France, Croatia, the U.K., the Dominican Republic, Germany, and Antigua and Barbuda.

What they're saying: “We would support legislation that would allow some of that money to go directly to Ukraine,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

  • “Can we imagine giving all of Russia’s wealth — the yachts, the bank accounts, the villas, the planes — back to Putin and his cronies as Ukraine lies in ruin, as the Ukrainians bury their dead?" Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) asked, per the Times report.
  • "We cannot imagine doing that. We will not do that.”
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