Russia has been poking the dragon for a long time and they are starting to feel the consequences of their actions. They tried interfering in our Democratic election and they have aided the deplorable Assad regime in exterminating their own people using chemical gas attacks.
The United States has just recently placed economic sanctions on our Eurasian enemy. Now, Germany and Austria are denouncing the United States for them!
German and Austrian officials are upset because they feel the American sanctions on the Kremlin in Moscow will adversely affect European businesses involved in the piping and natural gas industry. After all, money is more important than making a statement against oppression. A joint statement was released on Thursday by Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. In the statement, they said,
“we can’t accept … the threat of illegal and extraterritorial sanctions against European companies. Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America! To threaten companies from Germany, Austria and other European states with penalties on the U.S. market if they participate in natural gas projects such as Nord Stream 2 with Russia or finance them introduces a completely new and very negative quality into European-American relations.”
The sanctions were slapped against important sectors of the Russian economy as well as some individuals who contributed to the 2016 presidential election interference. These sanctions were included in a bill that placed more restrictions on Iran as well. The Senate bill specifically states the United States government,
“should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy.”
This now means President Trump will have the right to place sanctions on corporations that sell goods or commit to investments of more than $5 million to Russian export pipelines. Indicating that anyone who does business with Russian subsidiaries will pay a hefty price.
Both European officials have accused the United States of having nefarious motives. Instead of retribution, they argue the United States is attempting to aid American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their European counterparts. Their comments came shortly after the United States Senate supported legislation extending and increasing the sanctions against Moscow.
They also maintained that American influence in the form of sanctions would be “highly regrettable and damaging” towards the work they are doing in cooperating with one another to deal with the Ukraine crisis. But it is not the United States that is negatively affecting European relations or the work they are doing on the Russian Nord Stream pipeline project.
Europe is split over the Nord Stream pipeline. The Baltic and European countries, as well as The European Commission, have been against the pipeline out of fear Russia would use it to expand their sphere of influence. Instead, they want to work with the European Union and its members to diversify supplies. Nord Stream 2 is the company in charge of the pipeline project and it is their stance that commercial interests are behind these recent issues.
“Half of the cost of the new pipeline is being paid for by Russian gas giant Gazprom, while the other half is being shouldered by a group including Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell, French provider Engie, OMV of Austria and Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall. Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don’t pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.”
Gazprom is a supplier of approximately a third of the gas the European Union uses. The corporation had strong opinions about the recent American sanction and labeled these actions an attempt to secure additional European exports. Thy said the following in a statement,
“If the Senators believe that they can block Russian-American cooperation in energy and as a whole — God is their judge. Trade and political ties between the countries have already dropped “to a very low level.”
Europe has no problem calling on their American ally when they need help after Russia has placed sanctions on them or violated international law. When they need help and protection from Russia we are the first people they call. Yet when we finally hold them responsible for provoking us and interfering in the affairs of our country, we get chastised by the very people who have called upon us in the past.
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