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Washington to use new sanctions to curb Russian energy projects, experts say

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved a bill specifying tougher unilateral American sanctions against Russia

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. A bill on new sanctions against Russia is aimed at turning up the heat on Russia’s energy sector, a senior expert from the Institute for Energy and Finance informed a round table, elaborating on the effects of the sanctions on Thursday.

"The law creates fundamentally new legal frameworks of sanction pressure by the United States," said Alexey Gromov, the institute’s director for energy policy. "Essentially, those legal frameworks that have been created in the US give them the ability to pinpoint targets for an attack on Russian energy projects in order to hinder their implementation," he added.

"If new artificial restrictions are imposed on Russian energy projects, Europe may find itself in a predicament where America will potentially be imposing its products on European consumers," Gromov warned.

The expert said the new sanctions will also embrace Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream gas pipeline projects. "German business is lobbying for the construction of Nord Stream 2, but as for the European Commission, fierce resistance (to this) is seen there," he concluded.

Vyacheslav Kulagin from the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences echoed Gromov’s viewpoint. "All we are seeing now is an element of an economic war that has continued between the US and the European Union for several years already," he said. "As of now, America’s pressure is focused mainly on the banking sector, while Europeans are putting pressure on IT companies. This is for the long haul, like any other sanctions," he went on to say.

Kulagin said the new restrictive measures are to a certain extent advantageous for the administration of US President Donald Trump, as the US needs new markets for its liquefied natural gas, and these markets can only be found in Europe.

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved a bill specifying tougher unilateral American sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The document is now going to be considered by the Senate. The Senate is expected to pass the bill. After that the legislation titled "Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act" will be submitted to US President Donald Trump. The White House has recently signaled that Trump is ready to sign the bill into law. It narrows the possibilities for the US president to individually cancel or change the imposed sanctions and may potentially complicate US relations with the European Union.