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Senate Anti-Russia Sanctions Bill: Putin Unconcerned, Merkel Furious

June 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the wake of the U.S. Senate vote the other day on sanctions against Russia, vowed, during a TV interview today, that Russia will not be pushed into a deadlock in its relations with Washington.

"It is important to note that no matter what is going on—certainly, probably, let’s look what will be the result in the final end. But no matter what and which decisions are taken overseas, this won’t push us into deadlock,"

Putin stressed.

"We will probably have to correct something, and take additional measures, pay extra attention to something, but this [toughening of sanctions] won’t lead to a deadlock or any collapse,"

he said. "But this will certainly complicate Russian-U.S. relations," he warned. "I believe this is harmful," Putin said. "But it is early now to speak about any retaliatory steps [toward strengthening of sanctions] but let’s look at the outcome."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, is furious about the bill. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said it is "peculiar" that sanctions aimed at punishing Russia could also lead to penalties against European companies. "This must not happen," he said. "We generally reject sanctions with extraterritorial effects, meaning an impact on third countries." German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries told Reuters that Berlin would have to think about counter-measures if the bill becomes law: "We’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it."

Section 257 of the bill, which is on U.S. policy on Ukrainian energy security, targets, among other things, the supply of Russian gas to Europe, including the proposed Nordstream 2 pipeline, which is planned to run the length of the Baltic Sea, from St. Petersburg, Russia to Greifswald, Germany, mostly along the same route as the currently existing Nordsteam pipeline. The bill makes opposition to Nordstream 2 U.S. policy because of its alleged

"detrimental impacts on the European Union’s energy security, gas market development in Central and Eastern Europe, and energy reforms in Ukraine."

What European critics of the bill are really jumping on, however, is the following clause:

"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."