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The Lawfare Podcast: Can the United States Seize Russian Frozen Assets to Aid Ukraine?

As Russia’s unlawful war of aggression continues to inflict untold devastation on Ukraine, policymakers have begun to search for ways to support Ukraine’s beleaguered economy and fund its eventual reconstruction. Their attention has turned to the billions of dollars in assets that the United States has frozen as part of its robust sanctions against the Kremlin. But as policymakers attempt to make some of these assets available to Ukraine, it begs the question: Under what legal authority can the United States seize these Russian frozen assets?

Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson and Chimène Keitner, Alfred & Hanna Fromm Professor of International & Comparative Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, wrote a piece for Lawfare titled, “The Legal Challenges Presented by Seizing Frozen Russian Assets,” where they explain the core legal issues that U.S. policymakers need to consider as they weigh whether and how to move forward with seizing any frozen Russian-related assets. Lawfare legal fellow Saraphin Dhanani sat down with Scott to discuss all of this, as well as to get Scott’s take on how the U.S. might move forward in its efforts to support Ukraine using Russian assets, notwithstanding, of course, the many legal constraints it faces.

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