EU giving Kiev seized Russian assets will prompt retaliation: Russia
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says Moscow will take appropriate action if needed to protect our legitimate interests.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday that Russia will take necessary action if required to respond to the EU's possible decision to seize Russian assets and give them to Ukraine.
"We will certainly assess the situation and, if necessary, will take the appropriate action to protect our legitimate interests. However, what the European Union is doing is completely illegal and, by the way, many countries there have doubts about the success of this campaign and its being in line with international law," he stated.
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"It is absolutely clear to any lawyer that everything the EU - and not just the EU - has done in relation to Russia is a blatant violation of basic international law," the Russian diplomat added, stressing that the UN Security Council (UNSC) is the only party that has the right to introduce sanctions.
On February 14, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union said an EU Working Group will be set up to look at using frozen Russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine, noting that the decision regarding the Working Group’s remit will be taken on Wednesday, February 15.
"The Working Group will carry out a legal, financial, economic and political analysis of the possibilities of using frozen Russian assets," said the presidency in a statement.
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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova has on several occasions described western attempts to seize Russian assets as theft.
In June last year, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov deemed the freezing of Russian assets to be one of the greatest thefts in history.
The Russian official also warned then that the West's decision could lead to the collapse of the international Bretton Woods system of monetary management.
Earlier this month, Poland and the Baltic states called for the EU to use frozen Russian assets for the benefit of Ukraine.
EU trying to steal Russian assets by hook or crook
In November 2022, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested establishing a "structure" in order to manage Russian frozen assets and use them to fund Ukraine.
Responding to her statement, Grushko accused then the Commission of trying to loot Russian assets "by hook or by crook."
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"All this feverish activity of the European Commission is aimed at finding ways by hook or by crook to 'legitimize' the illegal sanctions adopted against our country and stealing assets belonging to Russian individuals and legal entities," Grushko said.