The June 25 editorial “High stakes, and obstacles, for rebuilding Ukraine” missed the point. Yes, there is an overwhelming moral, political and financial case for confiscating Russian sovereign assets now to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction. But the stakes for Ukraine could not be higher.

There is ample legal precedent under domestic and international law to confiscate Russian sovereign assets. Three recent precedents exist under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act: Iran, 1981; Iraq, 1991; and Afghanistan, 2022. Moreover, Russia cannot credibly exert sovereign immunity and expect to win in any court.

Swift congressional action to clarify the president’s powers will be persuasive politically and legally.

The Group of Seven leaders’ summit statement endorsed confiscation “where appropriate.” The Council of Europe called on its members to aid Ukraine in making use of confiscated assets to pay for war damage.

Finally, any dollar concerns are manageable. First, the bulk of the international community is united in support of action in concert to help Ukraine. Second, we already have crossed that Rubicon with the global sanctions imposed on Russia for its violation of the U.N. Charter and international law. Finally, if not to the dollar, where will investors and creditors go? The Chinese renminbi? Gold? Crypto?

The stakes for Ukraine could not be higher, given not only the threat it and Europe face but also the cost of reconstruction that Russia must pay as compensation for its wrongful acts under international law and precedents. Congress must pass bipartisan legislation now. Ukraine cannot wait.

Gregory P. Wilson, Great Falls

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