Germany resigned to US sanctions over Russia gas pipeline

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BERLIN (AP) — German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Friday he was “under no illusions” that proposed U.S. sanctions against companies involved in building a Russian gas pipeline to Europe might be stopped at the last minute.

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign a Senate bill later Friday that provides for sanctions against companies involved in laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Maas told reporters in Berlin that the question now was how the sanctions will be implemented.

“The time sequences will also play a role and we will continue to discuss this with our American partners,” he said.

The United States has warned that increasing the supply of Russian natural gas to Western Europe will make countries there more dependent on Moscow. Washington has also expressed concern that pumping the gas through the Baltic Sea threatens the existing supply line through Ukraine and could make it easier for Moscow to pressure Kyiv amid existing tensions between the two neighbors.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Vadim Prystaiko, said he opposed sanctions against Germany, but didn’t comment on measures targeting private companies.

“The last country we would wish to be sanctioned is Germany,” Prystaiko said at a news conference with Maas.

“They are our friends, our supporters. We don’t want any sanctions for Germany,” he said, according to an official translator.

But Prystaiko stressed that Ukraine’s network can transport several times what the planned Baltic pipeline will be able to carry. He also noted progress in recent talks between Kyiv and Moscow on a new agreement for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine.

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