MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. The Russian side, in the event that its assets are confiscated by the West, is ready to take major retaliatory steps, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Friday.
"Of course, we always proceed from legality, from what gives all kinds of last chances to the prudence of partners or non-partners. But at the same time, we are ready for any steps to protect national property, up to taking major tit for tat measures, so that no one has any illusions," the diplomat said.
Zakharova stressed that Moscow takes the EU's plans to use Russian funds to expand its political and economic tasks "exclusively as a gross encroachment on sovereign property," which cannot but cause "a decisive and adequate response in the event of an escalation of the relevant issue."
"We certainly do not want the situation to develop in this direction. We call on the West to return to strict observance of the principle of democracy, an open economy, a competitive market and the inviolability of private property, which they are promoting," she added.
The diplomat stressed that the Russian authorities are considering all possible legal mechanisms to regain access to the country’s frozen assets.
"The refusal of unfriendly countries to interact with Russia in the legal field will let all participants in the modern global financial architecture see the dependence of the status of sovereign assets of national states on the opportunistic geopolitical approach in several Western countries," she noted.
"We call on the global community to take the ongoing arbitrariness with all responsibility and not follow the lead of Western extortionists," she said.
Earlier, the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU announced that the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU had approved the creation of a special working group to study options to transfer Russian assets that were seized or frozen in the EU to Ukraine.