Russia Threatens the West With a “Symmetrical Response”

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Moscow is ready to provide a “symmetrical response” to the use of revenues from Russian assets frozen in Europe. This was stated by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. “If such a decision is taken, there will be an absolutely symmetrical response from the Russian Federation. We also have enough assets that are frozen here... these are our obligations on papers, dividends, those that make up our obligations to foreign counterparties from unfriendly countries,” Russian official media quoted the minister as saying. Siluanov added that the assets frozen in Russia brought “substantial income”, which the Russian authorities are ready to use if a similar decision is taken in the West. Western countries have frozen about half of the Bank of Russia’s foreign exchange reserves - about $300 billion - since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Most of these funds are in Europe. Since at least autumn 2022, EU authorities have been discussing the possibility of using these assets. On Thursday, 21 December, The New York Times (NYT) quoted sources as saying that the administration of US President Joe Biden had started urgent talks with allies on using Russia’s frozen assets (about $300bn) to help “Ukraine’s military efforts”.