Western countries have frozen an estimated $300 billion of Moscow’s sovereign capital since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands prior to their talks in Beijing, China, on Thursday, May 16, 2024. © Sergei Bobylev/AP

Russia and China are united in condemning the seizure of sovereign assets by third parties, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping said in a joint statement on Thursday. Any nation whose financial resources and properties are targeted in this way has a right to retaliate, they added.

Western nations, including the US, UK and EU states, have frozen an estimated $300 billion of Moscow’s sovereign capital since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022.

The US and a number of European nations have advocated confiscating Moscow’s assets to finance Ukraine’s defense and future reconstruction. However, France, Germany, and several other EU members have resisted those calls, warning that the move could adversely affect the euro. So far, the West has agreed to appropriate only the interest accrued on frozen Russian assets.

According to a statement issued following a meeting between Xi and Putin in China on Thursday, Beijing and Moscow “condemn initiatives aimed at seizing foreign countries’ assets and property, and underline such countries’ right to apply retaliatory measures in accordance with international law.”

No place for military blocs in Asia-Pacific – Putin No place for military blocs in Asia-Pacific – Putin

The document described the practice of confiscating other nations’ financial resources as running counter to established legal norms.

The Chinese and Russian heads of state also pledged to provide mutual protection to each other’s foreign property.

Speaking at his meeting with Putin, Xi held up ties between China and Russia as a “model of relations between large powers and neighboring states, characterized by mutual respect, trust, friendship, and mutual benefit.”

Meanwhile, Putin said that Moscow’s partnership with Beijing is “based on the multipolar realities and international law,” and constituted “one of the main stabilizing factors on the international stage.”

Putin’s trip to China is his first state visit since he was sworn in as president for the fifth time earlier in May.

Speaking late last month, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned that should Russian assets be confiscated, “it will be a solid nail in the future coffin of the entire Western economic system of axes.” Such a move would irreparably erode foreign investors’ trust in Western financial institutions, the Russian official claimed.

Peskov also said at the time that Moscow would “endlessly” challenge any potential confiscation in the international courts.

In February, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov also made it clear that Moscow would retaliate in kind, should its assets be confiscated. Total Western direct investments in Russia were estimated to be around $288 billion as of the end of 2022. (RT)