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White House reacts to reports that Russia may seize US business assets

The Biden administration says an attempt by Russia to seize assets from American companies would end in “more economic pain” for Russia.

As Russia prolongs its war against Ukraine, the United States, along with NATO and the European Union, have adopted numerous sanctions to punish Russia economically. Along with a large list of international companies that have blacklisted the country, these actions have put the Russian economy on the brink of recession.

As a result, reports have emerged that the Russian government may be planning to seize the assets of Western companies that have fled the country. This could include the seizure of companies from Europe, Japan and especially the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin further said that his government would adopt “external management” against these foreign companies, although he did not specify the extent of this threat.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed reports of Russian seizures in a series of tweet condemn Putin’s actions. PSAKI made it clear that any seizure would have further consequences for the Russian economy.

“We have seen reports that Russia may be considering seizing the assets of US and international companies that have announced their intention to suspend operations in Russia or withdraw from the Russian market,” Psaki said. “These decisions are ultimately up to the companies.”

“As President Biden said earlier this week, we welcome the corporate decisions to leave Russia because they don’t want to be part of Russia’s war of choice against Ukraine,” the tweets continued. “Any lawless move by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately cause even more economic suffering for Russia.”

The White House has responded to reports that Russia may target the assets of American and European companies. White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned it would cause more economic hardship for Russia. Above, PSAki can be seen at a press conference on March 3.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty

PSAKI added that any seizure of the company’s assets would “aggravate the clear message to the global business community that Russia is not a safe place to invest and do business.”

“Russia may also invite legal claims against companies whose assets are seized,” Psaki said. “We support American companies making tough decisions about the future of their Russian operations.”

The press secretary also referred to an unnamed Russian oligarch believed to have ties to Putin, saying the businessman was against the idea of ​​Russia seizing US assets.

“[The businessman said] it would “take us back to 1917” and that the “consequences of such a move – global distrust of Russia by investors – we will experience for many decades to come,” Psaki tweeted.

“Take us back to 1917” refers to the period before the Russian Revolution, when the country, then the Russian Empire, was ruled by an absolute monarchy. The empire was marked by many social and economic problems as the revolution approached.

Despite PSAki’s warning, it looks like Russia may go ahead with its plans.

Russian media TASS reportedly cited a list, created by the country’s consumer rights organization, of foreign companies whose assets would be confiscated by the government.

This would include 59 companies, many of which have global influence. Notable names on the list would include Microsoft, IKEA, Toyota, Apple, Shell and McDonald’s.

Newsweek contacted the White House for comment.


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