Putin’s threatened response to companies ditching Russia may cause ‘even more economic pain,’ Psaki warns

After Russian President Vladimir Putin floated the idea of nationalizing companies that refuse to do business in Russia over the Ukraine invasion, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki suggested Thursday that such a move would further damage Russia economically. 

“The rights of those investors and colleagues who are staying in Russia and are working in Russia, must be fully protected,” Putin said Thursday, according to a report in RIA Novosti. “I am asking the government to keep this in mind. Those who are planning to close business – we must act decisively… As the head of the government proposed, we must introduce external control and to transfer these business to those who want to work.”

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“We have seen reports that Russia may be considering seizing the assets of U.S. and international companies that have announced plans to suspend operations in Russia or to withdraw from the Russian market,” Psaki noted in a string of tweets Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House February 22, 2022, in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

She added that the decisions of whether companies continue to do business in Russia during the invasion of Ukraine are “ultimately up to companies.”

“As President Biden said earlier this week, we welcome the decisions of companies to exit Russia because they want no part of Russia’s war of choice against Ukraine,” Psaki said. Yet she warned that “any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia.”

Such a move “will compound the clear message to the global business community that Russia is not a safe place to invest and do business,” she added. “Russia may also invite legal claims from companies whose property is seized. We stand with American companies who are making tough decisions regarding the future of their Russian operations.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to a journalist’s question during a joint news conference with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP / AP Newsroom)

Many international companies, such as McDonald’s, BP, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and more, have suspended operations in Russia in protest of the invasion of Ukraine.

The finance committee of the Ukrainian parliament has sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, urging lawmakers to ban companies that do business in Russia from the New York Stock Exchange.

“This is definitely not the time to pay any taxes to the Russian government,” Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian parliament’s finance committee who is spearheading the effort, told FOX Business on Thursday. “These taxes finance guns, ammo and salaries of soldiers who kill Ukrainians. 52 children were killed by the invading forces so far.”

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“On behalf of the Ukrainian government we will be asking stock exchanges to delist any company which continues to pay taxes in rubles, and investment funds to drop these stocks,” Zablotskyy added. “We have also asked US Congress on behalf of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Finance Committee to consider banning the trade shares of any company that pay taxes in rubles.”

MPs attend an extraordinary sitting of the Ukrainian parliament, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. (Photo credit should read Pavlo_Bagmut/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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