Moscow slams US sending Russian assets to Kiev: Illegal at all levels
Kremlin's spokesperson says that any case of seizure of Russian frozen assets will not go unignored.
The United States' seizure of Russian assets is "illegal" both on the level of international law and national law, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced during his Wednesday surprise visit to Kiev that Washington will be providing Keiv with $1 billion, including $5.4 million in Russian sovereign assets seized in the US.
"In any case, we perceived it absolutely negatively because we consider all cases related to the blocking and arrest or other withholding of any funds related to state property, private property, mixed types of property of Russia abroad, to be illegal acts," Peskov told reporters, adding that arguments alleging that this move is legal are "lawless and look like legal nonsense."
Peskov confirmed that not one case of seizing Russian assets will be ignored, warning that they will not pass without serious legal proceedings.
"There is also a blatant fact that now both we, as the Russian state, and our entrepreneurs, are very often infringed on the rights to defend our interests in judicial instances abroad. This is difficult to comprehend, this, of course, contradicts everything in general that can be imagined both from the point of view of international law and national law," he added.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, nearly half of Russia's foreign currency reserves have been sanctioned, amounting to about $300 billion, as part of the West's historical sanctions against the country. Measures also included the seizing of private property and finances of Russian businessmen for allegedly supporting the war in Ukraine or having good relations with the Kremlin.
In November 2022, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen suggested establishing a "structure" in order to manage Russian frozen assets and use them to fund Ukraine.
Echoing the proposal, the G7 group declared that Russian assets would remain frozen until Moscow compensates Ukraine for the alleged "damage" caused during the conflict.
However, the European Commission (EC) lawyers concluded in April that Russia's assets frozen by the EU, including interest rates on foreign deposits "cannot be touched since once the war ends, they will have to be returned to Russia," citing high "legal barriers" despite "political will."
In June 2022, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Alexander Venediktov deemed the freeze of Russian assets to be one of the greatest thefts in history.
"The paradox is that perpetrators of this crime are those who have earlier assumed responsibility for maintaining the global economic architecture," Venediktov said then, warning that the West's decision could lead to the collapse of the international Bretton Woods system of monetary management.
Most Western nations remain skeptical of carrying out such measures over fears that it would set a precedent that could become a norm in international conflicts. Europe in particular raised concerns in internal discussions that if the bloc adopts such a move, it might lead to detorariting trust in the euro and would motivate other central banks with large reserve currencies to "turn their back" on the union's currency. This view was also shared implicitly by the United Kingdom.