Germany and EU condemn US sanctions on gas pipeline
Germany accused the United States of interfering in its internal affairs on Dec. 21 for imposing sanctions on companies working on a major project to supply Western Europe with Russian gas.
Moscow and the European Union also issued statements criticizing the sanctions, a day after President Donald Trump signed off on asset freezes and visa restrictions on those involved in the Nord Stream 2 project.
Swiss contractor Allseas said after the sanctions were imposed that it had "suspended its Nord Stream 2 pipelay activities".
Although U.S. Congress overwhelmingly backed the sanctions, there was some criticism among lawmakers of a move that in effect punishes NATO allies such as Germany.
While an EU spokesman criticized "the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business", the German government said Berlin rejected "these sorts of extra-territorial sanctions".
"They will hit German and European companies and constitute an interference in our internal affairs," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the United States, accusing it of seeking to prevent other countries from developing their economies.
"A state with $22 trillion in public debt is banning solvent countries from developing their economies," Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page.
"The American ideology does not like global competition. Soon they'll be asking us to stop breathing."
Russian gas giant Gazprom is financing roughly half of the project, with the other half paid for by five European companies.
Trump on Dec. 20 signed off on U.S. sanctions against companies building a Russian natural gas...