USA votes to sanction European Union firms in Russian Federation project

The deal in the US Congress for new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea comes amid simmering diplomatic tensions involving the US in all three directions, and against the backdrop of continuing investigations by both houses of the US Congress and the FBI into Russia's meddling in the 2016 US elections and the possible collusion of the Trump team with Moscow.

Democrats and Republicans of the two houses of US Congress have coordinated the bill to impose new restrictions against Iran and Russian Federation.

According to a report by the Financial Times، European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for an urgent review of Brussels' retaliation strategies should the bans being discussed in US Congress hit European businesses، including energy firms.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman and European Union officials spoke on July 24, a day after the White House said that President Donald Trump is open to new legislation that would slap fresh sanctions on Russia and limit his ability to ease or lift them by himself. The EU is looking for written assurance from Washington that new sanctions which might hurt European companies would not be imposed.

The German authorities already warned of possible retaliation if the United States moves to sanction German firms involved with building a new Baltic pipeline for Russian gas.

The law could lead to United States fines on European Union firms that take part in Russian energy projects, including the planned Nord Stream II gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which involves German firms Wintershall and Uniper, Austrian company OMV, French firm Enie, and Anglo-Dutch firm Shell.

"We are working with European partners on the implementation of a number of big projects", he said, without naming Nord Stream II. He expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in the US.

The Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act, which was passed by the Senate a month ago, was held up in the House of Representatives after Republicans proposed including North Korea sanctions in the bill.

The draft U.S. sanctions law would target Russian energy, financial, railways, shipping, and metals and mining sectors.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned that any new sanctions on Russia will only result in the deterioration of US-Russia relations.

The law signals a departure from a joint EU-US approach to Russian sanctions.

Other energy projects, such as the Caspian Sea oil and gas pipelines, the Ukraine gas transit, and the Zohr field off the Egyptian coast, may also be affected due to the participation of Russian companies.

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