The State Department on Monday brushed off reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering his government to look into the nation’s former “real estate” abroad, saying Alaska would be staying in American hands.
Putin signed a new decree last week to allocate funds for the research and registration of Russian property overseas, including that in former territories of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, Russian state media TASS reported.
The decree, which comes amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, did not specifically mention Alaska, though it caught the attention of military bloggers, who argued Putin was using the decree to declare the 1867 Russian sale of the Last Frontier State to the U.S. is illegal.
“Well, I think I can speak for all of us in the U.S. government to say that certainly he’s not getting it back,” State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a Monday press briefing, prompting laughter from his audience.
The Institute for the Study of War last week noted the “exact parameters of what constitutes current or historical Russia property are unclear.”
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