US transfers confiscated Russian funds to Estonia for Ukrainian aid

The United States has transferred $500,000 in confiscated Russian funds to Estonia to aid Ukraine, repoted the US Department of Justice.

According to the department, the funds were seized by the US following the interception in 2022 of an illicit attempt to import into Russia a high-precision coordinate grinding machine produced in America, intended for use "in the defense sector and in the sphere of nuclear weapons proliferation."

The machine does not require an export license to European Union countries but does require a license for export and re-export to Russia due to the particular nature of its potential applications. “The participants in the import scheme "never once filed an application or received a U.S Department of Justice license for the export or re-export of the machine to Russia, as required by the 2018 Export Control Reform Act and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which restrict the export of goods that can significantly contribute to the military potential of other countries or could harm the foreign policy or national security of the US," the department noted. The Justice Department also reported the detention on February 14 of a Latvian citizen in connection with their involvement in the procurement scheme of this machine for subsequent import into Russia.

For the second time, the department is transferring confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine. Previously, in 2023, Washington transferred $5.4 million in confiscated funds to Kyiv.

This time, for the first time, the US is conducting the transaction through a "foreign ally." The money has been sent to Estonia, which will in turn transfer it to Ukraine. "The confiscated funds are transferred to Estonia, as the current circumstances do not allow for a direct transfer to Ukraine," the Justice Department notes.

Estonia will use these funds to carry out a project aimed at accelerating the damage assessment and repair of Ukrainian electrical power distribution and transmission systems damaged as a result of attacks by Russia, the department states.

  War in Ukraine, Estonia, USA, Russia