Putin Not Ready to Retaliate Over US Sanctions

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 19, 2017

The US Senate in Congress voted almost unanimously on Thursday to impose new sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation, setting up a possible confrontation with the Trump administration as it attempts to improve relations with Moscow.

The Russian president was not pleased. Nord Stream project is aimed at gas supplies to Germany from Russian Federation via pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Addressing reporters in Berlin on June 16, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert described the USA move as "peculiar". Gabriel and Kern also accused the US of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals.

US President Donald Trump should veto the new Congressional sanctions against Russian Federation and prevent the lawmakers from creating a "boogeyman" out of Moscow, says an American analyst.

"Europe's energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America", the ministers, Sigmar Gabriel and Christian Kern, said on June 15.

A senior administration official said that the White House is concerned that the bill will hurt U.S. -Russia relations and the administration is hoping to work with Republicans in the House to soften the bill, reported. While the sanctions passed 97-2 in the Senate, they have yet to be addressed in the House.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said it had an "extremely negative attitude" toward the proposed new USA sanctions and considers the discontent expressed by Germany and Austria "understandable".

This is the first time any top European leaders have confirmed the views of the Russian President Vladimir Putin who alleged that US imposed sanctions on Russia do not hurt the United States but Europe.

The bill now moves on to the House, and it must eventually be signed into law by President Trump.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to express concern about the bill this week in a House Foreign Affairs hearing.

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