The bill appears to target Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. The proposed expansion would double the existing pipeline’s capacity and make Germany EU’s main energy hub.
The legislation seeks to introduce individual sanctions for contributing in Russian energy projects and targets major sectors of Russia’s economy, including defense, railway, and banking industries.The new sanctions on Russia have been criticized by several senior politicians in Europe, including the Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Critics of the US government’s move argue the sanctions could affect European energy security and serve Washington’s economic interests – in line with the “America First” policy of president Donald Trump.
‘Forcing us to give up Russian gas to sell own is unacceptable’ – German FM blasts US sanctions bill “We deem it absolutely unacceptable when a bill demands that Europeans give up on Russian gas so that they could sell American instead, at a much higher price,” Gabriel said.
Russian energy giant Gazprom currently supplies a third of European gas demands, having delivered a record 179 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to Europe in 2016. Construction of additional delivery infrastructure would diversify the supply of Russian gas and make the delivery of fuel much cheaper than the costly US alternative of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland in July, Trump made clear that the US is interested in expanding energy ties with Europe, especially with Central and Eastern European nations.
“We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy,” Trump said after Poland received its first shipment of American LNG in June.