US confiscates assets of Russian businessman for ‘rebuilding Ukraine’

The US Justice Department has announced the first transfer of assets illegally confiscated from a Russian businessman to a fund purportedly intended for “rebuilding Ukraine” amid its persisting efforts to punish entities on good terms with Moscow.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland declared in a statement on Wednesday the first transfer to the Ukraine fund of assets seized from the US accounts of Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeyev, who Washington has accused of funding pro-Russian forces in Crimea in 2014.

“While this represents the United States’ first transfer of forfeited Russian funds for the rebuilding of Ukraine, it will not be the last,” Garland boasted in what appears as more of a pro-Kiev publicity move.

Last year, the US Justice Department pressed charges against Malofeyev —  a Russian banker whose business interests include the pro-Moscow Tsargrad media group, described by American officials as “one of the main sources of financing” Russian interests in eastern Ukraine and Crimea — for violating sanction against Russia.

At that time, Garland further claimed that millions of dollars had been seized “from an account at a US financial institution traceable to Malofeyev’s sanctions violations.”

Moscow has repeatedly warned that the US-led sanctions imposed against Russia as well as the massive transfer of advanced weaponry to Ukraine will further prolong the war and add to the casualties that have reached several hundred thousand since the Ukraine conflict began in February 2022.

Garland’s announcement came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at Western governments for unleashing a “real war” against his country, vowing that the battle with the US and its allies over Ukraine will end in Russia’s victory.

“Today, civilization is again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our homeland,” Putin said in a Tuesday address on Moscow’s Red Square marking the anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.

He also vowed to continue to defend the pro-Russian population in eastern Ukraine and protect Moscow’s interests against Western ambitions.

Putin further slammed “Western global elites”, saying they are “sowing hatred, Russophobia, and aggressive nationalism.”

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