MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia warned the West on Tuesday that Moscow would be very tough if the United States and European Union seized hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Russian assets.
After President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in 2022, the United States and its allies prohibited transactions with Russia’s central bank and finance ministry, blocking around $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets in the West.
The EU on Monday adopted a law to set aside windfall profits made on frozen Russian central bank assets, it said on Monday, in a first concrete step towards the bloc’s aim of using the money to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“This is theft: It’s the appropriation of something that doesn’t belong to you,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik radio, TASS reported.
Zakharova said the response from Moscow would be “extremely tough” as Russia felt it was essentially dealing with thieves.
“Considering that our country has qualified this as theft, the attitude will be towards thieves,” Zakharova said. “Not as political manipulators, not as overplayed technologists, but as thieves.”
Russia has said that if its property is seized then it will seize U.S., European and other assets in responses.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)