Putin says West's 'theft' of Russia's assets will not go unpunished

Russian President Putin attends Council for Science and Education meeting near Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that plans by Western countries to provide Ukraine with loans using interest from Russian assets frozen abroad was theft and would not go unpunished.

Putin, speaking at a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials, said the way the West had treated Moscow showed that any country could fall victim to a similar Western asset freeze.

"Despite all the chicanery, theft will certainly remain theft. And it will not go unpunished", Putin said.

"Now it is becoming obvious to all countries, companies (and) sovereign funds that their assets and reserves are far from safe in both the legal and economic sense of the word.

"Anyone could be next in line for expropriation by the U.S. and the West."

Putin was speaking a day after the leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies agreed on an outline deal to provide $50 billion of loans for Ukraine using interest from Russian sovereign assets frozen after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in 2022 in what it called a special military operation.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Andrew Osborn)