Germany ‘rejects’ US sanctions on Russian gas pipeline

The German government has “regretfully acknowledged” the United States’ decision to allow sanctions on companies or foreign persons involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

“The federal government rejects these kinds of extraterritorial sanctions,” deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said on Saturday. “They affect German and European companies and constitute an interference in our internal affairs.”

US President Donald Trump signed a massive 738-billion-dollar defence spending bill into law on Friday. The legislation included sanctions on vessels engaged in pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream – another Russian pipeline that will carry gas to Turkey – or foreign persons that assist the vessels.

The legislation gives Trump 60 days to impose the measures.

With an eye to ongoing talks between Moscow and Kiev on the transport of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe, Demmer said, “such US measures that were established especially with the protection of Ukraine are especially incomprehensible.”

Demmer said that the German government welcomed the news that Russia and Ukraine struck an agreement on Friday to continue the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine at EU-brokered talks in Berlin.

Russian and Ukrainian representatives met in the German capital as a 10-year agreement on gas transit through Ukraine was due to expire in two weeks.

The issue was critical for the European Union, as several member states rely on natural gas delivered through Ukraine from Russia, an energy supply that has often been interrupted due to disputes.

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