Putin issues warning to West
The nationalization of assets is a double-edged weapon, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed during a government meeting in response to some Western countries proposing to seize his country's property abroad.
“We’re already hearing announcements coming from some officials about the possible nationalization of some of our assets. Well, this can be taken very far. Let no one forget that this is a double-edged weapon,” he cautioned on Tuesday.
Putin noted that the situation in the global energy sphere has significantly worsened as a result of “crude and non-market measures” introduced by foreign partners, including the mounting of pressure on Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. Putin accused European nations of trying to “shift the blame for their own mistakes in economy and energy onto Russia.”
Last Thursday, the president signed a decree that required countries that have slapped Moscow with sanctions to pay for gas with rubles, in future. The Kremlin has warned that refusing to adapt to this would mean the end of the energy, which, it remarked at the time, it wouldn’t be giving away “free of charge.” Moscow insists that it was left with no choice but to switch to its national currency, as dollars and euros could be “taken away.”
Earlier, on Tuesday, Germany announced that it had taken ownership of a local branch of Russia’s Gazprom, saying that it was ‘urgently necessary,’ while Bloomberg revealed, last week, that the UK government was planning to nationalize the company's local retail arm.