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Ukraine's new law will let it fund the war effort by selling Russian assets

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Sergei Supinsky
AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law on Monday that lays out a process for his country to seize and sell the assets of people who support Russia's invasion. Zelenskyy says the law will bolster Ukraine's war chest, three months after Russia sparked a bloody conflict with its neighbor.

The law is primarily aimed at Russian-owned assets and property in Ukraine, particularly Russian citizens who have already had their assets blocked by Ukraine's government. Last week, a Ukrainian court seized hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of assets owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman — an oligarch who was born in Ukraine.

The new law lists a number of offenses, such as giving money to Russia's government or glorifying those who are fighting against Ukraine. It also covers people who are found to have helped set up an occupation government in Russian-controlled portions of Ukraine, or those who help organize elections or referendums in occupied territories.

The law contains several elements that aim to ensure a rapid resolution of cases, including a stipulation that a person's failure to appear or be represented at court cannot slow the court's consideration of the claim against them. It also lays out plans for a speedy appeals process, with each party given five days to ask for an appeal. An appeals panel would then have five days to take up the matter.

The new sanction will be in effect for as long as Ukraine operates under martial law, as it has since the invasion began on Feb. 24. On Sunday, the Rada approved extending martial law in Ukraine through late August.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.