Russia threatens to seize assets of ‘hostile’ countries

MOSCOW/BERLIN: Russia hinted on Sunday that it could seize Russian-based assets from countries it deems hostile in retaliation for a US proposal to sell the assets of Russian oligarchs and pay the proceeds to Ukraine.

“With regard to companies based on Russian territory whose owners are citizens of hostile countries and where the decision has been taken” to seize Russian assets, “it is right to take reciprocal measures and confiscate the assets” , said the spokesman for Lower Russia. house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin.

“And the proceeds from the sale of these assets will be used for the development of our country,” he said on his Telegram channel.

Volodin accused “a number of hostile countries – Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and even the United States” – of flouting international law and “resorting to pure theft”.

Volodin said that “today Russian businessmen buy foreign companies operating in Russia and buy the shares of partners who want to leave our market”. He urged “hostile” countries to “act in a civilized manner and respect international law”. Volodin’s remarks came after US President Joe Biden announced a proposal to increase economic pressure on Russia, with enhanced seizure and confiscation procedures allowing assets seized by oligarchs to be ‘sold’ for “repair the damage done by Russia and help build Ukraine”.

“A dangerous precedent has been set, which could turn against the United States itself,” Volodin said.

“This decision will not affect the economy of our country. The yachts, villas and other assets of wealthy (Russian) citizens do not contribute anything to the development” of Russia, he said.

Germany reduces its energy dependence on Moscow

Germany said on Sunday it had made progress in drastically reducing its reliance on Russian energy, a strategic shift Europe’s largest economy has embarked on since Russia invaded the EU. Ukraine.

Russian supplies now represent 12% of Germany’s oil imports against 35% previously, the economy ministry said in a statement.

Coal from Russia has also been reduced to 8%, from 45% of purchases from Germany previously.

Dependence on gas remains high, but Europe’s largest economy has also reduced its Russian sources to 35% of the total, down from 55% before Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

The government presented plans in March to halve oil imports from Russia by June and end coal deliveries by the fall.

Germany should also be able to largely wean itself off Russian gas by mid-2024.

“All these measures that we have taken require a huge effect from all players and they also mean costs that are felt by the economy and consumers,” said Economy Minister Robert Habeck. “But they are necessary if we no longer want to be blackmailed by Russia,” he stressed.

Europe’s biggest economy’s reliance on Russian energy has been revealed as an Achilles’ heel as Western allies scramble to penalize Vladimir Putin for his attack on Ukraine. The export giant has since scrambled to find alternative energy suppliers to replace Russian contracts.

Posted in Dawn, May 2, 2022