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Russia threatens the West with $288 billion in losses in retaliation for freezing Russian assets

In Europe
January 21, 2024

Russian propaganda media have claimed that according to their estimates, Western firms might lose up to US$288 billion in retaliation for the freezing of Russian assets.

Source: RIA Novosti, a pro-Kremlin Russian news outlet

Details: Sources told Reuters that Group of Seven (G7) leaders will agree to issue a stronger statement of intent regarding efforts to confiscate Russian assets frozen in Belgium and other European cities in order to help reconstruction in Ukraine when they meet in late February, around the second anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

RIA Novosti claimed that the data it obtained shows that direct investments by the European Union (EU), G7 countries, Australia and Switzerland in the Russian economy amounted to US$288 billion at the end of 2022.

RIA Novosti also said EU countries own US$223.3 billion in assets, of which US$98.3 billion officially belong to Cyprus, $50.1 billion to the Netherlands, and $17.3 billion to Germany.

The top five largest European investors in the Russian economy also include France, with assets and investments worth US$16.6 billion and Italy with US$12.9 billion.

Among the G7 countries, the UK was named as one of the largest investors, citing data that shows that British assets in Russia were worth about $18.9 billion as of the end of 2021.

According to RIA Novosti, the US held US$9.6 billion worth of Russian assets at the end of 2022, Japan US$4.6 billion, and Canada US$2.9 billion.

Switzerland and Norway, which, RIA Novosti said, often adopt anti-Russian measures, had US$28.5 billion and US$139 million respectively at the end of 2022, while data shows that Australia had US$683 million invested at the end of last year.

Background:

  • Penny Pritzker, the US Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery, said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos that confiscating frozen Russian assets would require a collective decision from all countries where such assets exist and will take time.

  • Bloomberg reported that Russia is preparing a lawsuit to thwart any attempts by the US and the EU to confiscate part of the Central Bank’s US$300 billion in frozen assets in favour of Ukraine.

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