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“In the West, seizing Russian assets is ‘theft’: Putin.”

International News"In the West, seizing Russian assets is 'theft': Putin."
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Kathmandu. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday termed the action of seizing Russian assets abroad as ‘theft’ and warned that such actions would be ‘punished’.

Leaders from the G7 on Thursday agreed to utilize profits from frozen Russian assets to secure a new $50 billion loan for Ukraine.

In 2022, shortly after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine, the G7 and the European Union (EU) froze nearly 3 billion euros (around 2.5 billion dollars) of assets belonging to the Russian central bank.

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Putin on Friday criticized Western countries for seeking any legal basis to seize Russian assets abroad, terming such actions ‘theft’ and warning that they won’t go unpunished. He also issued a warning about the conflict between Moscow and the West, claiming Russia possesses the largest arsenal of strategic weapons and cannot be forced back into an unacceptable position.

Putin repeatedly employed nuclear saber-rattling in the conflict with Ukraine, presenting this as a pivotal point in extensive ‘hybrid warfare’ between Russia and the NATO military alliance.

At the conclusion of the seven-hour meeting, President Putin criticized Switzerland for hosting a Ukrainian peace forum, labeling it a ‘provocative move’ to unsettle everyone.

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Moscow was not invited to this conference, where about 90 heads of state and senior international organization officials are expected to participate. Ukraine must withdraw its troops and NATO’s efforts towards peace must conclude. Furthermore, President Putin declared on Friday that Moscow would halt the proposal to provide Ukraine with four regions and NATO membership, starting peace talks and ending the war.

Before the main peace conference held by Ukraine and its supporters in Switzerland in the evening, he presented his military strategy to stop full-scale military action in February 2022.

In televised addresses to Russian politicians in Moscow, Putin stated, “Donetsk People’s Republic, Luhansk People’s Republic, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions must fully return to Ukrainian sovereignty.”

Russia claims to have seized all four regions in 2022, though full control was not established in any of them.

“Preparedness to do so,” he continued, “and starting the withdrawal of troops, as well as abandoning plans to formally integrate into NATO, will prompt us to immediately initiate a ceasefire and peace talks,” he said.

He insisted that in areas like Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, where Russia shares a strong historical bond with Crimea, it will not accept Ukraine’s complete sovereignty. Military analysts have warned for a long time that Russia’s main objective in attacking Ukraine is to create a ‘land bridge’ between the southern coast of Russia and Crimea.

However, Putin and senior Russian officials have generally attempted to justify their invasion of Ukraine in light of Kyiv’s previous nationalist policies and attempts to integrate Russian-speaking populations.

Ukraine and Western countries have dismissed these accusations as baseless and characterized Russia’s military actions as aggressive imperialism.

In 2014, Russia unilaterally annexed Crimea, triggering international outrage and sparking armed conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country’s east.

Ukraine insists that complete return of its internationally recognized territories, including Crimea from Russia, is the only path to lasting peace.

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