Germany, European Union slam US curbs

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - US President Donald .- AFP

Moscow and the European Union also issued statements criticising the sanctions.

Germany accused the US of interfering in its internal affairs on Saturday, in an increasingly angry spat over Washington's decision to impose sanctions on companies involved with a major project to supply Western Europe with Russian gas.

Moscow and the European Union also issued statements criticising the sanctions, a day after US President Donald Trump signed off on asset freezes and visa restrictions on those involved in the Nord Stream 2 project.

US lawmakers are seeking to stymie what they regard as an increasing reliance on Russian energy in Western Europe by targeting the project, which aims to double deliveries of Russian natural gas to Germany via a pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

In the first sign that the sanctions were beginning to bite, Swiss contractor Allseas suspended its Nord Stream 2 activities while it awaited clarification from the US authorities on the detail of the measures.

While an EU spokesman criticised "the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business", the German government said Berlin rejected "these sorts of extra-territorial sanctions".

"They will hit German and European companies and constitute an interference in our internal affairs," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer.

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