Yesterday’s vote by the US Senate to expand sanctions against Russia into their energy sector is not sitting well with Germany and Austria, two nations which have a keen economic interest in ensuring Europe’s energy supply, and who see the US sanctions as a threat to their national interests.
“Europe’s energy supply is a matter of Europe, and not for the United States of America,” warned German FM Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, who issued a joint statement today, adding that the US move risked them reducing cooperation with respect to Ukraine.
Russia is the primary energy exporter to much of Europe, particularly with respect to natural gas. The joint statement accused the US move of being related to its “economic interest in exporting gas” to Europe, something that has been a top priority for some US energy companies.
Largely, the US is just interested in sanctioning anything and everything Russia related these days, and since the US has limited direct economic ties with Russia they don’t see the need to limit sanctions on aspects of the Russian economy which might do serious harm to key US allies. It has long been expected that the sanctions would wear thin in Europe after awhile, and ultimately the US may be hastening the European Union’s exit from the sanctions effort.