The Russian parliament speaker has threatened to take back Alaska from the US if seized Russian assets are used to rebuild Ukraine after the war.
Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the state legislature known as Duma and Russia’s most-senior politician, made the suggestion during a session of parliament on Wednesday, July 6.
The Russian Empire had a number of outposts in North America that it founded in the 18th and 19th centuries, the first and longest-lasting of which were in Alaska.
But Russian president Tsar Alexander II sold the territory to US President Andrew Johnson in 1867 for $7.2million which is now $144million in today’s money – and it became a US state in 1959.
Now the Russian politician says Russia should keep an eye on Alaska.
‘Decency is not weakness,’ Volodin told the lower house of parliament on Wednesday. ‘We always have something to answer with.
‘Let America always remember, there is part of its territory… Alaska.’
He warned: ‘When they start trying to dispose of our resources abroad, let them think before they do so that we also have something to get back.’
He ordered other lawmakers to ‘keep an eye on Alaska’.
President Zelensky and his allies have increased calls to use seized Russian assets to pay for the rebuilding of Ukraine in recent weeks, ahead of making a formal proposition to the UN in September.
Ukraine estimates the cost of rebuilding damage to the country is an eye-watering $750billion.
In order to ease the burden on both Kyiv and its allies, politicians say seized Russian assets – including $300billion in foreign currency reserves – should contribute towards the final bill.
Russian politician Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the Duma on Wednesday also suggested that a referendum should be held in Alaska on rejoining Russia.