MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. The Kremlin has been keeping a close eye on statements concerning the possible seizure of Russia’s assets in foreign countries in the wake of the so-called Skripal case, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that such statements were only tarnishing the image of those countries.
"We have been keeping a close eye on the situation," Peskov said. "Indeed, it is a very important issue, which concerns the image of countries as reliable economic partners," he added, while commenting on a statement made by US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, who had not ruled out that Russia’s assets in the US could be seized following the Skripal incident.
According to Peskov, "such decisions cannot but tarnish the image of these countries as far as their relations with other investors go."
"This is why we have been keeping a close eye on such statements," the Russian presidential spokesman reiterated.
Huntsman said earlier that Russia’s assets in the United States may be seized in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal. In addition, The Guardian wrote that British Prime Minister "Theresa May has agreed to look into imposing a ban on the City of London from helping Russia to sell its sovereign debt."
On March 4, Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London accused Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.
However, without presenting any evidence, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.
On March 26, in the wake of the Skripal incident, a number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. In particular, Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed Russia’s consulate in Seattle.