BERLIN, June 16 (Reuters) - 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 “peculiar”.
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,” Seibert said.
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 companies.
“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)