Russia will respond in kind if its funds are given to Ukraine, the foreign ministry said
Any Western attempt to transfer seized Russian assets to Ukraine would be “barbarism,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. If necessary, Moscow is ready to impose a tough response, she added.
Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, Zakharova noted that EU countries had invested heavily in Russia, meaning a significant amount of European-owned assets remain in the country. Their value is greater than the Russian assets seized by foreign nations, the spokeswoman claimed.
Zakharova insisted that Russia wants to act within the law and would give the US and its allies “every chance” to reconsider any plans to confiscate Russian property. However, she added that Moscow was fully prepared to defend its interests, including by using “equal compensatory measures.”
The remarks referred to a new EU working group, set up to examine ways to get Russia to finance the future reconstruction of Ukraine.
“This must be done in accordance with EU and international law, and there is currently no direct model for this,” said Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in a comment to the new group. Stockholm currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council.
Western countries have frozen Russian government reserves worth hundreds of billions of dollars, as well as the assets of Russians they consider close to the government. Moscow has branded the measures a robbery.
Zakharova emphasized that property rights should not be subject to the whims and geopolitical needs of a handful of nations, adding that US foreign policy was often prone to wild swings. She argued that one example is Venezuela, where Washington previously referred to Juan Guaido as a legitimate leader with the right to manage the nation’s wealth.
“Now Western delegations are visiting [Nicolas] Maduro, whom we always considered to be the legitimate president, as if nothing had happened, Zakharova said. “So everything they say now about Russia, their accusations, threats and blackmail… can flip-flop in an instant. Mark my words.”
The spokeswoman warned that the international community should oppose the push for the expropriation of Russian property. Countries may otherwise be on the receiving end of “apparently impartial” Western controlled financial system, Zakharova warned.