- The West seized $300 billion in Russian central bank assets after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
- Now, G7 leaders are set to discuss how to legally seize those assets to fund reconstruction in Ukraine.
- Russia is furious over the possibility — and it says the West could lose just as much as it seizes.
Russian state RIA news agency reported on Sunday the country would retaliate against the West in equal measure if it confiscates Moscow’s frozen assets to help Ukraine.
The news agency’s warning came amid reports that leaders of the Group of Seven are set to discuss how to legally seize $300 billion in Russian central bank assets to fund reconstruction in Ukraine.
The European Union, G7 countries, Australia, and Switzerland collectively held $288 billion worth of direct investments into Russia’s economy at the end of 2022, RIA reported, citing national statistics of the Western countries.
RIA’s report implies that the West has almost as much to lose as Russia does if Moscow retaliates. Business Insider could not independently verify RIA’s claims.
Russia has been hitting back against suggestions that its seized assets be used to fund the rebuilding of Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on December 29 that Russia has a list of foreign assets that it would seize in retaliation if the West were to move on Russia’s frozen assets.
It has called the notion of seizing Russian assets “outright theft.”
Meanwhile, there are international concerns about the legality of seizing the frozen Russian assets. Such a move could undermine the international financial system, legal and foreign-relations experts say. It could also erode trust in the US dollar and the euro as reserve currencies.
Russia’s potential retaliatory seizure of assets could make it even more difficult for foreign companies to exit the Russian market.
As it is, the Kremlin is already scrutinizing and micromanaging nearly every corporate exit plan before approving it, The New York Times reported in December.