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Germany urges U.S. to coordinate Russian Federation actions with European Union partners

01 August 2017

Both lower and upper house of the US Congress have backed new sanctions against Russian Federation which could hit the planned Nord Stream II pipeline that has been vocally opposed by Warsaw.

The EU has also warned of swift retaliation if the USA pushed ahead with the sanctions without taking heed of its concerns.

On Wednesday, Russia warned that new U.S. sanctions against Moscow approved by the house of representatives take already battered ties into uncharted waters, and said it was close to taking retaliatory measures of its own.

The U.S. Senate approved a new package of stiff financial sanctions Friday against Russia, Iran and North Korea and sent it to President Donald Trump to sign.

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In anticipation of the Senate vote on Thursday, the German foreign ministry echoed President Juncker that Europe must be prepared to respond "in kind" if the United States target European companies.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday evening that Minister Lavrov told Secretary Tillerson in a phone call earlier that day that Russia's decision was "triggered by a number of hostile steps" the US has recently taken.

"'There is now the possibility of counter-sanctions against the USA". If endorsed by Trump, the new tough approach against Russian Federation threatens the business of major German energy companies.

The Kremlin has reacted with vehement criticism of the bill.

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The U.S. proposals could hurt German efforts to make its energy supply more reliable by preventing German companies from working with Russian Federation on pipeline projects, said Volker Treier, the head of the Chamber's global committee.

It so far remains to be seen how the Trump administration will navigate the issue.

In his view, the danger is that the Trump administration does not implement the sanctions in a way that satisfies Congress, and the penalties fail to exert pressure on Russian Federation while putting US drillers at a disadvantage.

But the moves were more politically and economically hard for European Union countries, many of which have far more extensive trade and energy relationships with Moscow. "New sanctions should always be coordinated between allies", EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.

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The main concern in Brussels is that sanction could hurt the development of the Nord Stream II project, that is, a Russian pipeline that will supply Western Europe via the Baltic Sea. Sanctions were also imposed under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which targets Russians whom the United States considers human rights abusers.

Germany urges U.S. to coordinate Russian Federation actions with European Union partners