The Kremlin said on Monday it was worried that proposed new U.S. sanctions against Moscow could hurt major investment projects with European partners, but said it was premature to say if and how it would retaliate.
The White House said on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump was open to signing legislation toughening sanctions on Russia after Senate and House leaders reached agreement on a bill late last week.
That has raised concerns in Germany which has already threatened to retaliate against the United States if the new sanctions end up penalising German firms, such as those involved with building Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Moscow was worried that U.S. sanctions could hit third countries, as well as Russia, hard.
“We are working with our European partners on implementing a number of large-scale projects,” said Peskov, when asked about the possible impact of the new U.S. sanctions on projects like Nord Stream 2.
“It goes without saying that we and our European partners attach great importance to finishing these projects and we will work towards this,” he said. “That is why discussions about ‘sanctions themes’ — which could potentially obstruct these projects — are a cause of concern for us.”
Peskov said the Kremlin took “an extremely negative view” of the proposed new sanctions, calling the rhetoric surrounding them counter-productive and damaging to U.S.-Russia ties.
But he said Moscow was for now ready to wait and see what the final shape of the sanctions might be.
“As for the Washington administration’s stance on sanctions, we have seen some corrections to it,” said Peskov.
“We will wait patiently … until this position has been formulated unambiguously.”
Separately, Peskov declined to comment on reports that the European Union might discuss new sanctions against Moscow over its delivery of Siemens turbines to sanctioned Crimea.
Reuters on Monday quoted two diplomatic sources in Brussels as saying that Germany was urging the European Union to add up to four more Russian nationals and companies to the bloc’s sanctions blacklist over Siemens gas turbines delivered to Moscow-annexed Crimea.
(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
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