Germany and Austria not OK with new US sanctions

Berlin, Germany. The United States has launched yet another attack upon Russia with additional sanctions, as even America’s most reliable allies come forward now and say, enough is enough.In their forceful appeal, the two EU officials urged the United States to back off from linking the situation in Ukraine to the question of who can sell gas to Europe.

The Germans and Austrians voiced sharp criticism Thursday of the latest American sanctions against Moscow, saying they could affect European businesses involved in piping in Russian natural gas, costing EU businesses billions of dollars in lost revenue.

America’s Senate voted Wednesday to slap new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy and individuals over its unproven, alleged interference in the 2016 US election campaign and its protection of Syria and Donbass. The measures were attached to a bill targeting Iran.

Both Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was important for Europe and the United States to form a united front on the issue of Donbass, where freedom fighters have been fighting neo Nazi Poroshenko government forces since 2014.

“However, we can’t accept the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies,” the two officials said, citing a section of the bill that calls for the United States to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea.

“Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America,” Kern and Gabriel said.

Half of the cost of the new pipeline is being paid for by Russian gas giant Gazprom, while the other half is being shouldered by a group including Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, French provider Engie, OMV of Austria and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall.

Many eastern european countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don’t pass through their territory once the new pipeline is built.

EU leaders Gabriel and Kern accuse the US of trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. They said the possibility of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations,” they said.


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