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Risch, Whitehouse Applaud Committee Passage of REPO Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today applauded committee passage of the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act, legislation to provide additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russian Federation.

“Today’s committee passage of my REPO Act was long-overdue. For almost two years, Russia has committed unspeakable crimes in its illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Russia should pay to rebuild Ukraine, and U.S. leadership is essential to spur action” said Risch. “The REPO Act provides that leadership by giving the president authority to seize Russian sovereign assets frozen in the U.S. and transfer them to Ukraine for its reconstruction. It also directs the president to work with other partners and allies to take similar action. It is critical the international community rises to this occasion and holds Russia accountable. This bill is an important step.”

“Hundreds of billions of dollars of Russian sovereign assets have been frozen overseas – including billions here in the U.S. – since the start of Russia’s murderous invasion of its peaceful neighbor. So when we help Ukraine rebuild after it beats back the Russian invasion, seizing and repurposing the Putin regime’s frozen funds is the right place to start,” said Whitehouse. “I’m thankful for Ranking Member Risch’s strong partnership, and for Chairman Cardin’s hard work to iron out final language and provide a big bipartisan majority of the Foreign Relations Committee supporting this important legislation. I hope we can get this bill through Congress and to the President’s desk in short order.”

In addition to Risch and Whitehouse, the REPO Act is also cosponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

Praise for the REPO Act:

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine:

“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. I thank the U.S. Senators for the strong bipartisan support of this issue of justice for Ukraine and all victims of Russian terror.”

Robert B. Zoellick, Former President of the World Bank, U.S. Trade Representative, and Deputy Secretary of State:

“This timely bipartisan bill signals that the United States and its partners need an economic counteroffensive to support Ukraine as it begins its military counteroffensive. The aim should be to transfer Russian official assets to a fund for Ukraine, in accordance with both international and domestic law. This move is strategically sound, morally right, and politically timely.”

Mr. Zoellick also wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times on January 21, 2024 entitled “Transferring frozen Russian reserves to Ukraine is elegant justice.

Lawrence H. Summers, Former Secretary of the Treasury:

“The REPO Act is both overdue and critically important. The most important step the US can take to advance international economic governance is mobilizing seized Russian assets for Ukraine. It will support Ukraine and Europe, stand up for freedom and assure that even with Russian aggression global economic challenges can be met.”

Philip Zelikow, Former Counselor of the U.S. Department of State:

“This bipartisan bill is a landmark step to put Ukraine and Europe on the path to a lasting victory, because it counters Russia’s strategy of attrition and ruin with a strategy of hope, lawfully leveraging the aggressor’s own money.”

Daniel Fried, Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs:

“Bipartisan (& bicameral) legislation just introduced to allow use of Russian sovereign assets for Ukraine's reconstruction. The US holds only a small portion of the immobilized $300+B Russian reserves. But this bill is a big first step.”

Bill Browder, CEO and Founder of Hermitage Capital Management:

“Huge news: US senators to launch bill to seize and transfer Russian assets to Ukraine. The bill is well written and the most serious effort to date to confiscate Russian gov’t reserves. This should set the ball rolling for other countries to follow.”

Razom-led Letter Signed by 30 Former U.S. Administration Officials, Think Tank Leaders, and Other Prominent Voices in the Ukraine Policy Space:

“The REPO Act is a moral, just, and effective tool to impose costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin and to aid Ukraine, which is fully consistent with U.S. and international law. We urge the Committee in the strongest terms to pass the REPO Act and oppose efforts that would weaken, postpone, or effectively delay the actionable elements of the legislation.”

“The time has long since passed for the executive branch to use Russia’s frozen assets for the support of Ukraine, and legislation such as the REPO Act encourages the Administration to take expedient action. Seizing frozen Russian assets and the legislation prompting such action reflect a rare intersection of bipartisan and bicameral agreement. This proposal has support at home and abroad, even more so than is publicly acknowledged.”

Natalia Arno, President of Free Russia Foundation:

“Confiscation of Russian state assets is the most viable way of holding Russia accountable for the destruction of Ukraine, and providing the necessary funds to finance Ukraine's reconstruction, which are required immediately without delay. The REPO Act would enable the U.S. Government with the necessary tools aimed at swift confiscation of Russian state assets as approved by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution ES?11/5 of November 14, 2022. We fully endorse the swift passing and immediate implementation of the REPO Act.”

Lawrence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University:

“Putting Russia's hundreds of billions of dollars frozen across the G7 to immediate use rebuilding Ukraine is a moral and strategic imperative—and a critical opportunity for U.S. leadership. This important legislation not only affirms and strengthens already robust statutory authority for the president to transfer Russian assets frozen within the U.S., but also ensures that Russian assets will remain frozen regardless of who is in the White House in 2025. Congress should pass it swiftly.”

Dora Chomiak, CEO of Razom for Ukraine:

“The Russian invasion has devastated Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, flooded towns and villages, decimated the economy and agriculture. Razom's staff, volunteers, and partners have been working so hard to remediate the humanitarian disaster, but in the end, Russia must be the one to pay to rebuild what it has destroyed. I applaud Senators Risch and Whitehouse and Representatives McCaul and Kaptur for their leadership in introducing the REPO Act, which will allow the mobilization of Russian state assets to help with reconstruction. I urge our elected officials to waste no time in passing this crucial bill.”

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America:

“The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), as the representative organization of the 2+ million Ukrainian American community, supports the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity & Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act. Recognizing the horrific devastation and innocent lives lost in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, REPO codifies laws that would benefit Ukraine to receive compensation by the aggressor state. It is important to realize that as an aggressor state, Russia must be held accountable for its acts of aggression and genocide against the Ukrainian people. Initiatives such as REPO for Ukrainians Act is an opportunity to assist Ukraine recover from the horrors of Russia's aggression and sets a precedent for other authoritarian regimes that accountability for illegal actions will remain a policy objective.” 

Garry Kasparov, Chairman of Renew Democracy Initiative:

“I wholeheartedly endorse the seizure of frozen assets from the country I once called home in defense of American interests and in pursuit of Ukraine’s victory. RDI maintains that President Biden has the undisputed authority to transfer Russian assets held in the United States—as clearly explained in an independent study, ‘Making Putin Pay,’ which RDI commissioned from leading legal scholar Laurence Tribe last year. However, given both the urgency of this question and the executive branch’s reluctance to move decisively, I commend your leadership with legislative action. Your work may well push the administration to take the actions that this moment requires.”


The REPO Act was introduced on June 15, 2023. This legislation:

  • 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.

Text of the legislation as introduced can be found here.