Putin compares Russian asset seizure to Middle Ages

The blockage of Russian funds by Western countries violates international law and could be compared to robbery, Vladimir Putin has said

Putin compares Russian asset seizure to Middle Ages

Putin compares Russian asset seizure to Middle Ages

Businessmen were “stunned” to see their accounts frozen in Western banks, the president has said  

The West’s seizure of Russian state assets and reserves – and those of its citizens – is a violation of all legal norms, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, while addressing the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

He said the move was medieval and compared it to robbery, urging the government to speed up the return of frozen assets, especially those belonging to key industries of the Russian economy under domestic jurisdiction.

“Many businessmen were stunned to see that their accounts in the West were frozen. It never crossed anyone’s mind. This is simply robbery! They closed it, took it away and won’t even explain why. It’s shocking. It’s like the Middle Ages,” the Russian president said.

He added that this means that when money is earned in Russia and then deposited into foreign accounts, it creates certain risks.

“Our people have a good saying: ‘Where you were born is where you should conduct your business’,” he added.

Western governments have frozen about $300 billion in the Russian central bank assets and are now examining ways to hand the frozen Russian money over to Ukraine. Additionally, more than $80 billion worth of assets belonging to Russian citizens and businesses have been seized. Over 20% of these funds are owned by retail investors, according to estimates by the Bank of Russia.