Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Pavel Golovkin / AP)

Russia has threatened to retaliate against foreign firms operating there after Russian assets were frozen in Western Europe — sign of growing tensions between Russia and the West.

The Russian assets were frozen in Belgium and France in connection with a legal case involving the Yukos oil company, which was broken up after its owner was arrested in 2003.

The Guardian reports:

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said in televised comments that Russian entities affected by the moves were preparing to go to court to force the freezing of the assets of “foreign companies with government involvement” in Russia.

In Belgium, accounts of the Russian embassy in Brussels and representative offices at the European Union and Nato headquarters were among those affected, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

In France, accounts in about 40 banks were frozen along with eight or nine buildings, Tim Osborne, executive director of the main shareholder GML, told AFP.

“Russia is working on it. What our response will be – time will tell,” the deputy foreign minister, Vasily Nebenzya, told Interfax news agency, adding that “whoever acts like this has to understand that there will be a counter reaction”.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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