The Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act would provide reconstruction assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation
As Ukraine continues to hold out against the Russian invasion of its sovereign territory, the damage to Ukrainian infrastructure is growing. While the Senate’s bipartisan-developed bill that would help fund Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion (as well as a strong U.S. border and immigration bill and aid to Israel) has been stalled by House Speaker Mike Johnson, the Senate is doing what it can to give hope to Ukraine.
This morning, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet announced their strong support for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passage of the bipartisan Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act. Passage of this legislation would give the United States the authority to seize Russian sovereign assets frozen in the U.S. and transfer them to Ukraine for reconstruction efforts.
Nearly two years of Russia’s indiscriminate bombing and drone attacks have destroyed roads, bridges, dams, energy and communications providers, water systems, municipal government buildings, schools, and cultural centers. This doesn’t even include the destruction of thousands of apartment buildings and homes, leaving millions of Ukrainians homeless.
“For two years, Ukraine has fought valiantly against Russia’s unprovoked attacks. Russia should pay to rebuild Ukraine, and this bill will help ensure that,” said Hickenlooper.
“Vladimir Putin is directly responsible for the death, destruction, and dislocation wrought by Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. This legislation will ensure that Russia foots the bill for Ukraine’s reconstruction by providing the authority to seize Russian sovereign assets held in the United States,” said Bennet.
“The significant international step today is the bill registered in the United States on the confiscation and transfer to our country of the assets of the Russian state – a terrorist state – as reparations,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on X, following the bill’s introduction. “I thank the U.S. Senators for the strong bipartisan support of this issue of justice for Ukraine and all victims of Russian terror.”
Background on the REPO Act
The bill provides the following:
- Ensures Putin foots the bill for the damage caused by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
- Gives the president the authority to confiscate Russian sovereign assets that have been frozen in the United States and transfer them to assist in Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.
- Prohibits the release of funds to sanctioned Russian entities until Russia withdraws from Ukraine and agrees to provide compensation for harm caused by its unprovoked war.
- Instructs the president to work with allies and partners to establish an international compensation mechanism to transfer confiscated or frozen Russian sovereign assets to assist Ukraine.
- Gives the State Department additional resources to work with partners and allies abroad toward the goal of confiscation of additional Russian sovereign assets in other countries.
The European Union is fast-tracking Ukraine’s application for membership, aware that Ukraine is the democratic country that is both dealing with Russian aggression, and challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aspirations to expand its control into Europe.