In retaliation to the seizure of Russian
and Russian firms’ money
abroad, Moscow will freeze the funds of foreigners and
foreign companies in Russia, the RIA news agency reported quoting Dmitry Medvedev, the country’s deputy head
of the security council, on Saturday.

Medvedev said that Russia could nationalise the assets of companies regiestered in the United States, European Union and other “unfriendly jurisdictions”. 

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The US and a number of its allies have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, freezing assets and announcing other penalties against Russian banks, state-owned enterprises and other elites in light of their offensive against Ukraine .  

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said that the US was preparing individual sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which is likely to include travel bans.

The announcement came after the European Union announced it intended to freeze Putin’s assets, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told NATO leaders his country would sanction Putin and Lavrov. Canada said it would do the same.

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Psaki said President Joe Biden hadn’t planned any more direct diplomatic overtures toward Putin, but “it does not mean we have ruled out diplomacy forever.” She said the US would also newly sanction the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which functions as a sovereign wealth fund meant to draw capital into the Russian economy.

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The US measures block Putin and Lavrov from access to any assets within reach of US officials, and bar anyone in the United States from doing business with them. Members of Russia’s security council also were sanctioned.

In response on Saturday, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said sanctions could offer Moscow a pretext for a review of its ties with the West, suggesting that Russia could cut them altogether.

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“We may look at each other in binoculars and gunsights,” he said. He also suggested that Russia could opt out of the New START nuclear arms control treaty that limits U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.