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Putin signs decree allowing seizure of Americans' assets if US confiscates Russian holdings

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree allowing Russia to confiscate assets of U.S. companies and individuals to compensate for any Russian assets confiscated in the United States.

The decree was published on the Russian government's legal portal on Thursday as top finance officials from the Group of Seven industrialized nations began a meeting at which the question of what to do with Russian assets frozen in the West is at the top of the agenda.

Ukraine and many of its supporters have called for the confiscation of $260 billion in Russian assets frozen outside the country after Russia's Feb. 24, 2022, invasion. But European officials have resisted, citing legal and financial stability concerns.

However, U.S. President Joe Biden in April signed into law the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, which allows the administration to seize the roughly $5 billion in Russian state assets located in the U.S. The law was included in a U.S. aid package for Ukraine and other nations which includes roughly $61 billion for Ukraine’s defense.

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But it’s not likely the U.S. will seize the assets without agreement from other members of the Group of Seven nations and the European Union.

The decree signed by Putin says that Russian companies and the central bank and individuals could apply to Russian courts to declare the seizure of property in the U.S. as unjustified. If the court agrees, a government commission would offer assets in compensation that could include property owned by U.S. citizens or companies in Russia, securities and shares in Russian companies.

The Associated Press