DOJ to give Ukraine $500K worth of forfeited Russian funds

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Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to give $500,000 worth of forfeited Russian funds to Ukraine as the embattled country tries to fend off the Kremlin’s invasion. 

The U.S. will transfer nearly half of a million dollars in confiscated Russian funds to Estonia, which will be then transferred to Ukraine, according to a Saturday DOJ press release. Estonia is receiving the funds first, since “under current authorities, the facts of this case do not allow for a direct transfer to Ukraine.” 

The funds were forfeited by the U.S. “following the breakup of an illegal procurement network attempting to import into Russia a high-precision, U.S.-origin machine tool with uses in the defense and nuclear proliferation sectors.” 

The transfer comes as legislation to give Ukraine and other U.S allies additional aid has been halted in Congress. The move presents the first time the U.S. gave funds to a foreign ally for the sole purpose of helping out Ukraine. The funds are intended to speed up the assessment of damage Ukraine’s distribution and electrical systems have taken. 

“This is an incremental step toward justice and restoration,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said. “But it is a necessary step. And it blazes a new trail towards combatting Russia’s ongoing brutality.” 

The U.S. intercepted attempts to export a jig grinder, a tool that can develop weapons for nuclear proliferation activities and defense, according to Monaco. The transfer is the second time the DOJ’s KleptoCapture task force made Russian assets available to Kyiv after being confiscated.

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