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‘Make Russia Pay Act’ would empower US Treasury to use seized Russian assets to help Ukraine

FIRST ON FOX: Legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday that would establish a fund within the U.S. Treasury to disburse seized Russian assets and have them fund Ukrainian relief.

The “Make Russia Pay Act” was introduced by Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., and received 14 cosponsors, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. The bill would set up a “Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief Fund” in the Treasury and empower the secretary of the Treasury to use seized Russian wealth to help Ukrainian refugees.

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

“All Russian assets seized by the United States, including seized Russian Central Bank foreign reserves, shall be deemed forfeited, and the Secretary of the Treasury shall liquidate such assets and deposit the resulting funds into the Ukrainian Humanitarian Aid Fund,” the bill reads.

The purpose of the new fund would be “to provide humanitarian relief to Ukrainian refugees who have fled their homes due to Russian aggression,” the bill explained. “Such relief may be made directly to member nations of the European Union who have taken in refugees from Ukraine.”

Refugees, mostly women and children, wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from the Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022.

The money could also be used to fund the Ukrainian government for the purposes of rebuilding infrastructure and providing humanitarian aid for its citizens, such as providing food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other forms of relief that the Treasury secretary deems appropriate.

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The legislation would also empower the secretary of the Treasury to determine jointly with the secretary of Defense whether to utilize the funds to offer security assistance against Russia.

A refugee who fled the Russian of Ukraine comforts his dog as they sit in a ballroom ballroom that's been converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel in Suceava, Romania.

“It is imperative that Russia pay the consequences for their invasion of Ukraine,” Bice said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “This legislation essentially acts as a Marshall Plan, where the funds seized from Russian assets will be used to aid Ukrainian refugees, help provide for Ukraine’s defense and humanitarian needs, and rebuild destroyed infrastructure.”

“The United States must take action against the Russian war machine and hold Putin and his oligarchs accountable. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues on this important legislation,” the congresswoman added.

Nearly 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled the country amid Russia’s invasion as of last Saturday — the majority of which (1.6 million) sought refuge in Poland, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

President Biden announced U.S. sanctions last month intended to cripple Russia’s financial system and stymie its economic growth by targeting Russia’s biggest banks, which the Treasury Department said holds nearly 80% of all the country’s banking assets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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