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Stealing foreign assets under the disguise of sanctions

Kremlin, Moscow, NATO, Washington, Afghan, Afghan Central Bank, Afghanistan, European, Sergey Lavrov, Russian, Ukraine

Opinion

Stealing foreign assets under the disguise of sanctions

Are the Western nations resorting to evil practice of stealing foreign assets under the disguise of sanctions? Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently has slammed the top European Union diplomat’s ridiculous idea of seizing Russian government reserves. Mr. Lavrov said, seizing Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves would be nothing short of theft. He said: “It seems fair to say that this is a theft they [the Western nations] do not even try to conceal”.

The Russian Foreign Minister’s comments came when an EU official suggested seizing Russia’s frozen reserves and using them to cover the costs of rebuilding Ukraine once the conflict is over.

Lavrov said, such actions “become a sort of a habit for the West”. He added, pointing to the fact that the United States had frozen funds belonging to Afghanistan, the Afghan Central Bank.

He said, Washington has no plans to spend them on the needs of the Afghan people that have suffered the consequences of the 20-year-long NATO presence on their soil.

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When the EU official Borrell himself unveiled the idea on Monday, he also referred to US President Joe Biden’s decision to set aside billions worth of the assets of Afghanistan’s central bank, adding, however, that they would be used to benefit the Afghan people.

The Russian minister also questioned Borrell’s role by saying that “We might soon see the position of the EU top diplomat gone for good since the European Union no longer has its own foreign policy and simply acts in line with whatever approaches are imposed by the US”.

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Moscow would continue to oppose America’s attempts to erode the principles the UN was based on and to create a unipolar world order, the minister added.

Russia’s top diplomat also criticized Borrell for what he described as overstepping his bounds. Apart from suggesting the “idea of confiscating foreign assets”, the EU official previously said that the Ukrainian crisis should be resolved through military means”, Lavrov said, referring to an April statement by Borrell that “this war will be won on the battlefield”, while speaking about Russia’s operation in Ukraine.

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Borrell “might as well remember… he is the chief diplomat and not the military leader of the European Union”, the Russian foreign minister has said.

Moscow had already criticized Borrell’s asset seizure suggestion. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko called it an act of “complete lawlessness” that would harm international relations.

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Following the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, Western nations froze around half of Russia’s international reserves, around US$300 billion.

Moscow was compelled to launch this special operation following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO.

It may be mentioned here that, Ukraine’s clown-turned-leader Zelensky has been appeasing neo-Nazis and in the recent times, particularly during Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, he has openly deployed neo-Nazis including notorious Azov Battalion members in attacking Russian soldiers as well continuing cyber attacks targeting Russian officials, law enforcement and financial organizations, civilians and even media outlets. Such actions though should be considered as serious level of cybercrime and cyberterrorism, Western nations surprisingly are maintaining silence and in some cases even extending logistic support to cybercriminals in Ukraine in continuing such evil activities.

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Sohail Choudhury is the Executive Editor of Blitz

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