Germany calls for European Union countermeasures against USA following Russian sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Earlier this week, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that US President Donald Trump has yet to decide on whether or not to slap a new round of sanctions against Russian Federation. These new sanctions have already been criticized by other prominent figures in the European Union, including Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

The new bill passed by both houses of the US Congress, which has been publicly approved although not yet signed into law by President Donald Trump, would entail sanctions for German and European firms which cooperate with Russian entities, Xinhua news agency reported.

Germany's government and business leaders say the new sanctions could prevent German companies from working on pipeline projects they say are essential to the country's energy security.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook. She added that "of course we don't want a trade war".

Germany had, she said, repeatedly asked Washington not to move away from common anti-Russia sanctions policy. "But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures....the Americans can not punish German companies because they operate economically in another country." .

"Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are doing".




USA president Donald Trump is expected to sign a Bill tightening and extending sanctions on Russia for its undeclared war against Ukraine and alleged meddling in last year's United States election, and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin reacted by ordering 755 U.S. diplomats and other staff to stop work in his country.

"The threat from the United States to also punish European companies by so-called extra-territorial sanctions is not acceptable", said Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries.

Targeting German energy importers, however, could be a unsafe mistake for the U.S., as the European Union doesn't have any realistic alternatives to trade with Russian Federation at this point, and will doubtless feel obliged to protect their trade interests, irrespective of America's wishes.

Also on Monday, however, USA vice-president Mike Pence heard warm praise for the sanctions during talks with leaders of the three Baltic states in Estonia.

"If our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days", European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned last week.

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