Moscow warns Russia-US ties will end if assets are seized: TASS

MOSCOW—A possible seizure of Russian assets by the US would completely destroy Moscow’s bilateral relations with Washington, TASS quoted the head of Russia’s foreign ministry’s North American division on Saturday. did.

Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated sharply since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation.”

Western powers responded with unprecedented economic, financial and diplomatic sanctions, including freezing about half of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves.

Western officials, including European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, have proposed seizing frozen reserves to fund Ukraine’s future reconstruction.

“I warn Americans of the harmful consequences of actions that permanently undermine bilateral relations,” Alexander Dartyev said in an interview with TASS news agency.

It wasn’t immediately clear which property he was referring to.

The US and its European allies have also frozen $30 billion in assets held by wealthy individuals with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, including yachts, helicopters, real estate and art, according to the Biden administration.

The U.S. Justice Department had asked Congress for broader powers to seize assets of Russian oligarchs as a way to pressure Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, prosecutors said in July.

Darchev also said Russia had warned the United States that diplomatic relations could be severely damaged and even broken if Russia was declared a state sponsor of terrorism.

Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, Dartyev said US influence in Kyiv has increased to the point where “more and more Americans are becoming direct parties to the conflict.”

According to TASS, Dartyev said that Viktor Bout, detained in the United States, and US basketball star Britney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, detained in Russia, were in prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Washington. I confirmed that it was discussed in the negotiations.