Moscow says Russian embassy accounts frozen in Belgium, summons ambassador

18th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Moscow on Thursday reacted furiously to a move by Belgium to freeze the accounts of Russian diplomatic missions and other organisations, summoning the Belgian ambassador over the "openly hostile act."

"The Russian foreign ministry summoned Belgian ambassador Alex Van Meeuwen on June 18," the ministry said.

"The Belgian ambassador was told that Russia considers such action by the Belgian authorities as an openly hostile act."

The foreign ministry said that Russia's embassy in Brussels, as well as its representative offices at the European Union and NATO headquarters and "a number of other Russian organisations" in the country had been impacted.

Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported that Belgian authorities had frozen official accounts in relation to legal claims by shareholders of defunct oil firm Yukos.

"This was not unexpected for us. We consider that the decisions that were taken illegally," Kremlin advisor Andrei Belousov was reported as saying.

"We predict a number of other countries will take similar measures," he said.

Former Yukos shareholders were awarded $50 billion dollars in damages against Russia by an international arbitration court in 2014 over the dismemberment of the firm.

Russia stripped apart the oil firm after making in 2003 a high-profile arrest of Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The company -- which had a market capitalisation of some $21 billion in 2003 -- was sold off in a series of opaque auctions between 2004 and 2006, with state-owned Rosneft buying up most of its operations.


© 2015 AFP

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