Russia to retaliate for US sanctions against Nord Stream 2

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MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government has vowed to retaliate against U.S. sanctions on a new Russia-Germany pipeline, work on which was suspended on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation last week that provides for sanctions against individuals and companies involved with the vessels laying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

The move prompted a Swiss company that operates ships laying sections of the pipeline to suspend the work.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Moscow will take measures of “reciprocity” over the sanctions, which Russia considers unacceptable.

“How and when it will be done remains a question of Russia’s national interests,” Peskov told reporters on Monday, adding that the Kremlin still hopes to complete Nord Stream 2.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated the sentiment, saying that Russia would respond to “these absolutely unacceptable, blunt actions that violate all norms of international law and diplomatic and human decency” after some “cool-headed analysis” of the situation.

Later on Monday the country’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said he tasked the cabinet with looking into “possible restrictions” that could be imposed on the U.S. in retaliation for the sanctions.

The U.S. has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, which will allow Russia to transport natural gas about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) directly to Europe, bypassing Ukraine. Along with eastern European countries that also oppose the project, the U.S. government argues that it will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for energy.

Nord Stream 2 is owned by Russia’s Gazprom, with investment from several European companies.

The German government said it regretted the enactment of the U.S. legislation and considered the sanctions an interference in the country’s domestic affairs. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear last week that Germany isn’t considering retaliation against the sanctions and said that there is “no alternative to conducting talks.”

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