In an apparent reciprocal move, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed a decree allowing the use of assets, valuable papers, and property belonging to the United States or to U.S. citizens in Russia to compensate for damages caused by the confiscation of assets and property belonging to Russian tycoons and the Russian central bank in the United States.

Russian media reports say 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.

Published on the Russian government’s legal portal, in particular, says the government is instructed “to take measures aimed at establishing a special procedure for compensation of damages  caused to the Russian Federation and (or) the Central Bank of Russia  in connection with decisions of government and (or) judicial authorities of the United States, which [procedure] applies in the event of unjustified deprivation of Russian property right holders of rights to property, taking into account the following.”

“The Russian right holder has the right to apply in accordance with the rules of jurisdiction established by the procedural legislation of the Russian Federation.”

The decree allows seizure of assets, valuable papers, and property belonging to the United States or to U.S. citizens in Russia, shares in Russian companies, property rights in the territory of the Russian Federation.

It is stated that the document was drawn up in connection with “unfriendly and contrary to international law” actions of the United States against Russia and the Central Bank of Russia.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press (AP) reported on May 23 that 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 US$260 billion in Russian assets frozen outside the country after Russia’s February 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, AP said, noting that 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.