Germany, Austria slam US sanctions against Russia

"Sanctions as a political instrument should not be linked to economic interests", the statement says.

"To threaten companies from Germany, Austria and other European states with penalties on the US market if they participate in natural gas projects such as Nord Stream 2 with Russian Federation or finance them introduces a completely new and very negative quality into European-American relations", they said.

The new anti-Russian sanctions are outlined in an amendment to a bill imposing sanctions against Iran.

The selection of suppliers of energy resources to Europe is in the competence of Europe itself and not the United States, it is decided based on market competition, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern have said.

Zypries, a senior member of the centre-left Social Democrats, said it remains to be seen if U.S. President Donald Trump would approve the senators' proposal to sanction European firms that take part in or finance energy projects like the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said the add-on was meant to stop "Russia's meddling in our election" and give Congress the final say should President Donald Trump in the future want to ease sanctions, originally imposed by former president Barack Obama.

"To threaten companies in Germany, Austria and other European firms with fines in the USA if they take part in or finance energy projects like Nord Stream 2 represents a new and negative dimension to U.S".

"Any idea of the president's that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation", Schumer said. They called the bill a "new and very negative quality in the European-American relations".

The White House subsequently stated that existing sanctions against Russian Federation were effective enough. Individuals identified as hackers who carried out cyberattacks on behalf of the Russian government would also be targeted. The United States recently started shipping liquified natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.

  • Leroy Wright