Russia threatens retaliation if its assets are confiscated

Maria Zakharova AP 2

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned Western countries against seizing its assets, in a statement Sunday.

In a post on Telegram, Zakharova quoted reporting from the Wall Street Journal that said Germany was arguing in favor of leaving Russia’s frozen assets intact, so that they could be used later as leverage to encourage Russia to cede some of the Ukrainian territory it invaded.

Zakharova said Russia would not cede territory and threatened a “harsh” response if Western countries seized its assets.

“I don’t know who is saying what, but assets do not change on the territory. We don’t trade our homeland,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram, according to an English version via Google Translate.

“And Russian assets must remain inviolable, otherwise there will be a harsh response to Western theft. And many in the West have already understood this. It’s a pity that not all,” the translation continued.

Under the new U.S. foreign aid package signed into law this past week, U.S. officials have new authority to seize Russian state assets located in the U.S. and use them to benefit Kyiv. At the start of the war, U.S. and its allies froze about $300 billion in Russian foreign holdings, about $5 billion of which is located in the U.S.

While that could mean another $5 billion in assistance for Ukraine, it’s not likely the U.S. will seize the assets without agreement from other members of the Group of Seven nations and the European Union.

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