Russia says taking control of Ariston unit is response to Western hostilities

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Ariston logo

ROME (Reuters) - The transfer of the Russian subsidiary of Italian water heating firm Ariston to management by a Gazprom entity was a response to the "hostile actions" of Western countries, the Russian Embassy in Italy said in a Facebook post on Monday.

The statement was released after the ambassador was summoned to the Italian Foreign Ministry to explain the relocation of the asset under the temporary management of JSC Gazprom Household Systems, which was announced on Friday by the Kremlin.

In the decree, Russian President Vladimir Putin also placed the German appliance maker BSH Hausgeraete under the same "temporary external management".

These measures "were taken in response to hostile actions, contrary to international law, by the United States and other foreign states that have joined them, aimed at illegally depriving Russia, its legal entities and various individuals of the right to property" in those countries, the post says.

The embassy added that it considered the "increasingly aggressive rhetoric and tone" of Western countries as a "deliberate intention to threaten the security of the Russian Federation".

The Italian foreign ministry called on Russia to reverse its decision "which has no basis in law," and said Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani may discuss "an appropriate response" with the G7 and Italy's EU partners.

The European Union also criticised Russia on Saturday, saying its actions against the Italian and German companies underscored Moscow's disregard for international law.

Russia has placed the assets of a handful of Western companies under "temporary management" since the start of the war in Ukraine, justifying such moves as retaliation for actions by other countries against Russian businesses.

(Reporting by Matteo Negri; editing by Gavin Jones and Jonathan Oatis)