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The European Union’s top diplomat on Friday slammed actions by the United States to sanction European companies working on Russian oil pipelines. 

“I am deeply concerned at the growing use of sanctions, or the threat of sanctions, by the United States against European companies and interests,” Josep Borell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said in a statement. 

Borell was reacting to new guidance issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, that said European companies known to be working on two Russian energy projects run the risk of coming under U.S. sanctions. 

“As a matter of principle the European Union opposes the use of sanctions by third countries on European companies carrying out legitimate business,” Borell said. “Moreover, it considers the extraterritorial application of sanctions to be contrary to international law. European policies should be determined here in Europe, not by third countries.”

Borell urged the U.S. to remove the threat of sanctions to allow for an “open dialogue.” 

“Where policy differences exist, the European Union is always open to dialogue. But this cannot take place against the threat of sanctions,” Borell said. 

The U.S. sanctions target Russia’s oil pipeline projects into Europe, Nord Stream 2 and a second line called TurkStream 2.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would run from Russia to Europe through the Baltic Sea. Turk Stream 2 is Russia’s project to run an oil pipeline through Europe to Turkey

The U.S. has spoken out against Russia’s efforts to enter the European oil market as a ploy to hold Europe hostage and isolate Ukraine from the international market. 

Pompeo on Wednesday said the updated sanctions guidance, under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), is a warning to companies to “Get out now, or risk the consequences.”

Tags European Union Mike Pompeo Nord Stream 2 Russia sanctions Turk Stream 2
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