BERLIN, June 16 German Chancellor Angela Merkel
is concerned that proposed new U.S. sanctions against Russia
could lead to fines against European companies, a government
spokesman said on Friday, labelling the U.S. move "strange" and
U.S. senators on Wednesday approved sanctions against Russia
over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, including some
on certain Russian energy projects. The U.S. move was not
coordinated with European Union allies.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters
in Berlin that Merkel shares the concern expressed at the new
sanctions by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian
Chancellor Christian Kern in a Thursday joint statement.
"The U.S. Senate's decision raises exactly the same
questions for her as it did for Mr. Kern and Mr. Gabriel. It is,
cautiously speaking, a peculiar move by the U.S. senate,"
The government spokesman added it was "strange" that
sanctions intended to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S.
elections could also lead to penalties against European
"That must not happen," he said. "We generally reject
sanctions with extra-territorial effects, meaning an impact on
third countries," Seibert said.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Thomas Escritt)