President Vladimir Putin has blasted moves by France and Belgium to seize Russian assets and asserted that The Hague court whose ruling precipitated the seizures has no jurisdiction over Russia.
"We cannot but react, we will defend our interests," Putin said at a meeting with top executives of global news agencies, vowing to fight the asset freezes in court for as long as it takes to stop them.
Putin suggested that part of Russia's legal strategy will be to deny the jurisdiction of the international arbitration court in The Hague that last year awarded shareholders of the defunct Yukos oil company $50 billion in damages because Russia in 2004 illegally dismantled the company and auctioned off its assets.
The French and Belgian asset freezes are aimed at enforcing that court judgement.
"The Hague Court is competent to decide on such cases only in respect of those countries that are signatories of the European Energy Charter," Putin said.
"Russia has not ratified this charter, so we do not recognize the jurisdiction of this court."
Based on reporting by AP and TASS