The Kremlin is apparently seeing red after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that Washington will be sending $5.4 million seized from sanctioned Russian oligarchs to Ukrainian veterans.
Just a day after Moscow’s forces killed 16 civilians at a crowded Ukrainian market in the Donetsk region, Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was suddenly deeply offended by the “lawlessness” of Kremlin-connected businessmen losing their money.
“We consider all cases tied to the blocking, seizure, or other retention of any funds related to state, private, or mixed property of the Russian Federation abroad to be illegal acts. Of course, any claims that they managed to find justification for the continuation of this lawlessness are absolute legal nonsense, and in any case, they will lead one way or another to litigation in the future,” Peskov told reporters Thursday, according to TASS.
“Not a single such case of illegal retention will go unanswered,” he said, complaining of the “egregious fact” that Russian businessmen and the Russian government, according to him, have their “rights infringed” in courts overseas.
While the U.S. State Department has not disclosed exactly whose confiscated assets are being handed over to Ukrainian vets, the figure cited matches the amount ordered seized from oligarch Konstantin Malofeyev earlier this year. Malofeyev, the founder of the rabidly pro-Kremlin “Tsargrad” news outlet, was indicted by U.S. prosecutors for evading sanctions and “using co-conspirators to surreptitiously acquire and run media outlets across Europe.”
Blinken, in announcing the move in Kyiv on Wednesday, noted that it’s the first time funds confiscated from Kremlin allies are being redirected to Ukraine.
“Those who have enabled Putin’s war of aggression should pay for it,” he said.