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8 Feb, 2024 13:23

Kremlin warns Germany over ‘expropriation’ of Russian assets

The energy giant Rosneft’s local subsidiary is currently under a Berlin-appointed trusteeship
Kremlin warns Germany over ‘expropriation’ of Russian assets

The nationalization of Rosneft’s assets in Germany would be tantamount to confiscation, a step which would have far-reaching consequences, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Thursday. 

His statement follows a media report that the German authorities are discussing taking possession of the local subsidiary of the Russian state-controlled energy major, which has been under a trusteeship since 2022.

Asked by reporters about the possibility of confiscating German assets in response to such a move, Peskov said that the Kremlin does not rule out anything to protect Russian interests. Moscow and Berlin are not negotiating the issue at state level, he added. “We have no contacts,” he said, but explained that the company is “defending its interests, using the entire arsenal of legal means that are available for this.” 

He went on to assert that “this is nothing more than the expropriation of someone else’s property. Such steps probably undermine the economic and legal foundations in European countries. They absolutely devalue the investment attractiveness of these countries and, of course, have very deep consequences for those who make such decisions.” Peskov clarified that he was primarily talking about legal and image consequences “and, in the end, economic consequences.” 

In 2022, in the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the German federal government took control of Rosneft’s assets in the country and placed them under a trusteeship. This even included the Schwedt refinery, where Rosneft is the majority shareholder. The Economy Ministry at the time expressed concern that operations at the Rosneft facilities were at risk because other companies intended to stop cooperating with them due to sanctions.

Berlin has extended the trusteeship twice, most recently in September 2023. The current trusteeship expires in March, meaning the government will need to make a decision about how to proceed.

Rosneft’s attempts to challenge the assets being taken over have been dismissed by German courts. A law enacted by the Bundestag in April 2023 allows for the outright expropriation of Russian assets by the German government.

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