Putin Slams Europe for Upholding Child Rape By a Migrant

The case Putin is referring to is reported on here. You have to hand it to the Russian leader. He never seems to tire of supplying us with ample evidence of what a huge difference sane, rational leadership can make in the life of a country. There is no immigrant crisis in Russia.

Did Hillary Scapegoat Russia to Save Her Campaign?

By Mike Whitney

August 01, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The “Russia hacking” flap has nothing to do with Russia and nothing to do with hacking. The story is basically a DNC invention that was concocted to mitigate the political fallout from the nearly 50,000 emails that WikiLeaks planned to publish on July 22, 2016, just 3 days before the Democratic National Convention. That’s what this is really all about. Russia didn’t hack anything, it’s a big diversion that was conjured up on-the-fly to keep Hillary’s bandwagon from going down in flames.

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes for a minute. She knew the deluge was coming and she knew it was going to be bad. (According to Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, DNC contractor Crowdstrike claimed to find evidence of Russian malware on DNC servers just three days after WikiLeaks announced that it was about “about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.” Clearly, that was no coincidence. The plan to blame Russia was already underway.) Hillary knew that the emails were going to expose the DNC’s efforts to rig the primaries and torpedo Bernie Sanders campaign, and she knew that the media was going to have a field-day dissecting the private communications word by word on cable news or splashing them across the headlines for weeks on end. It was going to be excruciating. She knew that, they all knew that.

And how would her supporters react when they discovered that their party leaders and presidential candidate were actively involved in sabotaging the democratic process and subverting the primaries? That wasn’t going to go over well with voters in Poughkeepsie, now was it? Maybe she’d see her public approval ratings slip even more. Maybe she’d nosedive in the polls or lose the election outright, she didn’t know. No one knew. All they knew was that she was in trouble. Big trouble.

So she reacted exactly the way you’d expect Hillary to react, she hit the panic button. In fact, they all freaked out, everyone of them including Podesta and the rest of the DNC honchoes. Once they figured that their presidential bid could go up in smoke, they decided to act preemptively, pull out all the stops and “Go Big”.

That’s where Russia comes into the picture. The DNC brass (with help from allies at the CIA) decided to conjure up a story so fantastic that, well, it had to be true, after all, that’s what the 17 intel agencies said, right? And so did the elite media including the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN. They can’t all be wrong, can they? Sure, they goofed-up on Saddam’s WMDs, and Iran’s imaginary nukes program, and Assad’s fictional chemical weapons attack, but, hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? And, besides, have I told you how evil Putin is lately and how much he reminds me of Adolph Hitler? (sarcasm)

In any event, they settled on Russia mainly because Russia had rolled back Washington’s imperial project in both Ukraine and Syria, so the media was already in full demonetization-mode and raring to go. All the DNC needed to do was utter the words “Russia meddling” and they’d be off to the races.

Does any of this sound even remotely believable? Former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern seems to think so, because he expounded a very similar scenario about a month ago in an interview on You Tube. Check it out:

Ray McGovern– “What did Hillary do? …Hillary gathered her war council together and one fellow says, “I know what we can do. We’ll blame it on the Russians.”

And someone else says, “But it wasn’t the Russians it was WikiLeaks.”

(Guy number 1 says)”Well, that’s a twofer. We hate them both equally , so we’ll say WikiLeaks is working with the Russians.”

(Ray McGovern) That was two days before the convention.

And someone else says, “What would the rationale be?”

(Guy number 2 says) “C’mon, the Russians clearly want Trump to win.”

(Number 1) “But what about the major media?”

(Number 2) “Well, the major media really want Hillary to win, so if we get the major media on board, well, we really got it wired.”

(Ray McGovern again) “And if you watch the coverage since the WikiLeaks leak, two days before the convention, the media content was not ‘how did Hillary steal the election’ but ‘How did the Russians do it?”’

(“Ray McGovern: The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped“)

He’s right, isn’t he? Hillary and Co. pulled off the whole ruse without a hitch. The media focused on the “Russia meddling” angle, and the calculating Ms. Clinton slipped away with nary a scratch. It’s amazing!

But there was one glitch to the ‘Blame Russia’ scheme. There was no hard evidence of Russian involvement. And, now, 10 months into multiple investigations of Russian hacking, there’s still no evidence. How can that be?

Well, for one thing, the FBI was never given access to the DNC computers.

Let me repeat that: In the biggest and most politically-explosive investigation in more than a decade, an investigation that has obvious national security implications– alleged cyber-espionage by a hostile foreign power, alleged collusion by high-ranking officials in the current administration, alleged treason or collusion on part of the Chief Executive, and the possible impeachment of a sitting president– the FBI has not yet secured or examined the servers that may or may not provide compelling forensic evidence of cyber-intrusion by Russia.

Why? Why would the FBI accept the analysis of some flunky organization that no one has ever heard of before (Crowdstrike) rather than use all the tools at their disposal to thoroughly investigate whether or not the hacking actually took place or not? Isn’t that their job?

Yer damn right it is. The reason the FBI never insisted on examining the DNC servers, is because they knew the story was baloney from the get go. Otherwise they would have kicked down the doors at the DNC, seized the computers through brute force, and arrested anyone who tried to stop them. Those computers are Exhibit A in the Trial of the Century. They should be under lock and key at FBI Headquarters not collecting cobwebs in the basement of the DNC-HQ. The fact that the servers have not been seized and examined just proves what a joke this whole Russia-deal really is.

You see, when a law enforcement agency like the FBI fails so conspicuously in carrying out its duties, you have to assume that other factors are involved, mainly politics. It’s all politics, right? There is no rational explanation for the FBI’s behavior other than it is following a political script that coincides with the agenda and ambitions of the DNC and other power players behind the scenes. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter summed it up perfectly in a brilliant article titled Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia. He said:

“…the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.” (“Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia“, antiwar.com)

Right on, Porter. Facts don’t matter in the Russia hacking case. They never have. The whole approach from Day 1 has been to drown the public with innuendo and baseless accusations, while the MSM Carnie barkers pretend that “Russia meddling” is already settled science and that only “Putin puppets” would ever doubt the veracity of the media’s loony claims. Got that?

But facts do matter and so does evidence. And on that score we’re in luck because McGovern’s group, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), released a blockbuster report last week that produced the first hard evidence that Russia most certainly DID NOT hack the DNC servers. It was a DNC insider. Here’s an excerpt from the VIPS article titled “Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?”

“Independent cyber-investigators have now …come up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack. They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC …was not a hack…(but) originated with a copy …by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia….

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S.” (“Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?“, CounterPunch)

Capisce? There was no hack. Someone working inside the DNC (a disgruntled employee?) –who had access to the computers, and who worked on the East Coast– copied the data onto a storage device and transferred it to WikiLeaks. That’s what you call a “leak” not a “hack”. There was no hack. Russia was not involved. The official narrative is bullshit. End of story.

Naturally, the MSM has completely ignored the VIPS report just as they ignored Sy Hersh’s brilliant article that proved that Assad DID NOT launch a chemical weapons attack in Syria. That bit of information has been locked out of the MSM coverage altogether as it doesn’t jibe with Washington’s “Assad must go” policy. So too, McGovern’s “verifiable forensic evidence” that the Russians did not hack the DNC servers will likely be consigned to the memory hole like every other inconvenient factoid that doesn’t fit with Washington’s foreign policy objectives.

The fact that the FBI has not seized the DNC computers is just one of many glaring omissions in this farcical investigation, but there are others too. Like this: Did you know that there are two eyewitnesses in the case that have not yet been questioned? That’s right, there are two people who claim to know the identity of the person who gave the stolen emails to WikiLeaks; Julian Assange and Craig Murray.

Murray, who is the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and a human rights activist, claims he met the person who took the emails from the DNC in a wooded area in Washington DC last year. In other words, Murray can settle this matter once and for all and put an end to this year-long witch-hunt that has consumed the media and Capital Hill, prevented the Congress from conducting the people’s business, and increased the probability of a conflagration with nuclear-armed Russia.

But here’s the problem: The FBI has never interviewed Murray or made any effort to interview him. It’s like he doesn’t exist. In other words, we have a credible witness who can positively identify the person who leaked the emails, gave them to WikiLeaks and set off a political firestorm that has engulfed the Capital and the country for the last year, and the FBI hasn’t interviewed him?

Will someone explain that to me, please?

That’s why I remain convinced that the Russia hacking story is pure, unalloyed bunkum. There’s not a word of truth to any of it.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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The Next Escalation: Pentagon Offers to Arm Ukraine

[ Ed. note – A few days ago I put up a post reporting on Russia’s response to the sanctions bill passed by Congress. That response included closing off access to certain US embassy facilities in Russia and also forcing the US to cut its embassy staff. The cutback, as it turns out, is quite large, and Russia is demanding that it be completed by September 1.

It is assumed that the US will mount a “tit-for-tat” response in some manner. The question, of course, is what will that response be? This is the subject of the article below, originally posted at Zero Hedge and reposted at Russia Insider. The thesis is that the US will ship lethal weapons to Ukraine for use against the pro-Russian breakaway territories in the country’s east. ]

By Tyler Durden

When we reported yesterday about Putin’s surprisingly harsh response to last week’s House legislation to launch new sanctions against Russia, which also binds Trump from unilaterally removing sanctions without getting Congressional approval, we concluded that “now we await the US re-retaliation in what is once again the same tit-for-tat escalation that marked the latter years of the Obama regime, as the US Military Industrial Complex breathes out a sigh of relief that for all the posturing by Trump, things between Russia and the US are back on autopilot.

We didn’t have long to wait.

The WSJ reports that, in what appears to be the next gambit by the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex (or “deep state” for those so inclined) to force Trump to “prove” that he did not, in fact, collude or have any ties with Russia or Vladimir Putin, Pentagon and State Department officials have devised plans to hit Russia where it hurts the most, and supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry, and are now seeking White House approval at a time when ties between Moscow and Washington are as bad as during any point under the Obama administration.

American military officials and diplomats say the arms, which they characterized as defensive, are meant to deter aggressive actions by Moscow, which the U.S. and others say has provided tanks and other sophisticated armaments as well as military advisers to rebels fighting the Kiev government.

So one attempt at “why now”, is because with Trump reeling, and having already caved on the latest Congressional anti-Russia bill, why not push the president to escalate the Russia conflict to a point where not even his predecessor dared to take it. For now, Trump is unaware of the plan:

A senior administration official said there has been no decision on the armaments proposal and it wasn’t discussed at a high-level White House meeting on Russia last week. The official said President Donald Trump hasn’t been briefed on the plan and his position isn’t known.

Of course, that will change once the president, now with a veteran general by his side as new Chief of Staff reads the WSJ report, and starts debating whether it is worth to further deteriorate Russian relations if it means getting Mueller of his back, by showing just how committed Trump is to “containing Russian aggression.”

Meanwhile, setting the stage for the escalation, a Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, said the U.S. has not “ruled out the option” of providing “lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.” U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has endorsed the plan, according to U.S. officials quoted by the WSJ.

Continued here

Imperial Folly Brings Russia and Germany Together

Source

By Pepe Escobar

August 01, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The Empire of Whiners simply can’t get enough when it comes to huff, puff and pout as the Empire of Sanctions.

With an Orwellian 99% majority that would delight the Kim dynasty in North Korea, the “representative democracy” Capitol Hill has bulldozed its latest House/Senate sanctions package, aimed mostly at Russia, but also targeting Iran and North Korea.

The White House’s announcement — late Friday afternoon in the middle of summer — that President Trump has approved and will sign the bill was literally buried in the news cycle amidst the proverbial 24/7 Russia-gate related hysteria.

Trump will be required to justify to Congress, in writing, any initiative to ease sanctions on Russia. And Congress is entitled to launch an automatic review of any such initiative.

Translation; the death knell of any possibilityfor the White House to reset relations with Russia. Congress in fact is just ratifying the ongoing Russia demonization campaign orchestrated by the neocon and neoliberalcon deep state/War Party establishment.

Economic war has been declared against Russia for at least three years now. The difference is this latest package also declares economic war against Europe, especially Germany.

That centers on the energy front, by demonizing the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and forcing the EU to buy US natural gas.

Make no mistake; the EU leadership will counterpunch. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), put it mildly when he said, “America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

On the Russia front, what the Empire of Sanctions faces does not even qualify as a hollow victory. Kommersant has reported that Moscow, among other actions, will retaliate by banning all American IT companies and all US agricultural products from the Russian market, as well as exporting titanium to Boeing (30% of which comes from Russia).

On the Russia-China strategic partnership front, trying to restrict Russia-EU energy deals will only allow more currency swaps between the ruble and the yuan; a key plank of the post-US dollar multipolar world.

And then there’s the possible, major game-changer; the German front.

The Fools on the Hill

Even without considering the stellar historical record of Washington not only meddling but bombing and regime-changing vast swathes of the planet — from Iraq and Libya to the current threats against Iran, Venezuela and North Korea — the Russia-gate hysteria about meddling in the 2016 US presidential election is a non-story, by now thoroughly debunked.

The heart of the matter is, once again, energy wars.

According to a Middle East-based US energy source not hostage to the Beltway consensus, “the message in these sanctions is the EU has no future unless it buys US natural gas to cut out Russia. To deny Russia the natural gas market of the EU was the goal behind the just lost war in Syria to put the Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline in and the opening to Iran for an Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline. None of these plans worked.”

The source adds as evidence the 2014 oil price war against Russia, orchestrated by “the dumping of Gulf States’ surplus oil or reserve capacity on the world market. Since this has failed to bring Russia to its knees, the destruction of the Russian natural gas market in the EU has become a national priority for the United States.”

As it stands, 30% of all EU oil and natural gas imports come from Russia. In parallel, the Russia-China energy partnership is being progressively enhanced. Russia is already geared to increase oil and gas exports to China and Asia as a whole.

The leadership in Berlin is now convinced that Washington is jeopardizing Germany’s energy diversification/energy security via the  sanctions war. Russian natural gas and oil is secured by overland routes and is not dependent on the oceans, which, as the energy source stresses, “are no longer under United States control. If Russia in response to United States belligerency drops an Iron Curtain over Europe, and redirects all its natural gas and oil exports to China and Asia, Europe will be utterly dependent on largely insecure sources of natural gas and oil such as the Middle East and Africa.”

And that bring us to the “nuclear” possibility in the horizon; a Germany-Russia alignment in a Reinsurance Treaty, as first established by Bismarck. CIA-related US Think Tankland is now actively discussing the possibility.

Another US business/political source, also a practitioner of thinking outside the (Beltway) box, stresses, “this is what it’s all about. That is the true goal of Russia, and the United States has fallen into the trap. The United States has had enough of Germany and what it considers dumping of German products on the United States through rigged currency. They are now threatening Germany with sanctions, and there is nothing Germany can do with the EU on their back facing vetoes from Poland, who is giving them trouble once again. The fools in Congress are really going after Germany, and throwing Germany in the arms of Russia.”

The US as the New Carthage

A possible Germany-Russia alliance, as I’ve written before, rounds up the China/Russia/Germany entente capable of reorganizing the entire Eurasian land mass.

The Russia-China strategic partnership is extremely attractive to German business, as it smoothes access via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the business/political source, “the US is at war with China and Russia (but not Trump, our President) and Germany is having second thoughts about being nuclear cannon fodder for the US. I have discussed this in Germany, and they are thinking of renewing the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. No one trusts this US Congress; it is considered a lunatic asylum. Merkel may be asked to leave for the leadership of the UN, and then the treaty would be signed. It will shake the world and end any thought of the United States being a global power, which it isn’t anymore.”

The source adds, half in zest,

“we think that Brzezinski died under the pressure of the realization that this was coming and that all his hatred of Russia and his life work to destroy them was becoming utterly undone.”

So, in a sense, it’s

“welcome to the 1930s all over again and the rise of nationalism in Europe. This time Germany will not make the mistakes of 1914 and 1941 but will stand against their traditional Anglo-Saxon enemies. The United States has truly become today’s Carthage and the disorder in Congress reflects the same stupidity of Carthage facing Rome. Legislators undermined their genius Hannibal as they are undermining the greatest president of the United States since Andrew Jackson. As Sophocles wrote in ‘Antigone’, ‘God first makes mad those he wishes to destroy.’ This Congress is mad.”

This article was first published by Sputnik –

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

See also

German minister urges ‘countermeasures’ against US for Russia sanctions 

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Related

 

America Declares Economic War Against Europe

Global Research, July 31, 2017

On Friday night, July 28th, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he would sign into law the increased economic sanctions (passed by 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House) against any business that is declared to have “knowingly provided goods or services … for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines.” 

Russia is the largest energy-supplier to the world’s largest energy-market, which is the European Union (EU). The biggest proportion of that trade is in Europe’s main source of energy, which is gas, which is pipelined into Europe from Russia. So: those pipelines are vitally important not only to Russia’s economy but to Europe’s.

President Trump had gotten Congress to agree to limit the application of this provision only to “The President, in coordination with allies of the United States, may impose five or more of the sanctions described in section 235 with respect to a person if the President determines that the person knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, makes an investment described in subsection (b) or sells, leases, or provides to the Russian Federation, for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, goods, services, technology, information, or support.” 

But the new law still does include “SEC. 232. SANCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PIPELINES IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.” That Section punishes “Goods, services, technology, information, or support described in this subsection are goods, services, technology, information, or support that could directly and significantly facilitate the maintenance or expansion of the construction, modernization, or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation.” That includes the crucial Nord Stream pipeline, which is maintained by Russian and German companies to transport gas from Russia to the EU.

U.S. firms have thus now gotten their stooges in Congress to punish European and Russian companies that will be determined by “The President, in coordination with allies of the United States,” to be working together in these ways, to get Russia’s gas to Europe’s markets.

North Stream, or Nord Stream, “has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.[5] Due to EU restrictions on Gazprom, only 22.5 billion cubic metres (790 billion cubic feet) of its capacity is actually used.[6] The name occasionally has a wider meaning, including the feeding onshore pipeline in the Russian Federation, and further connections in Western Europe.(Wikipedia)

So, already, the U.S. oligarchs have greatly reduced the effectiveness of this enormous European and Russian investment, and this is already war by the U.S. oligarchs (and their congressional agents) against both the European Union and Russia; but, the new sanctions aim to go even further to absolutely cripple Europe and Russia.

President Trump is to be credited for having weakened this provision to such an extent that it will be virtually meaningless; but, the intention of the oligarchs who control the U.S., to force Europe to buy from them, and from their allied Saudi, UAE, Kuwaiti, and the other royal fundamentalist Sunni Arabian families, is clear.

Other highlights from this new U.S. law are well summarized in the July 28th article from Zero Hedge, “Trump Confirms He Will Sign Russia Sanctions Bill”.

The biggest concession that Trump made was to allow that this new law, “H.R.3364 – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, “Codifies existing US sanctions on Russia and requires Congressional review before they are lifted.” This is an Executive-Legislative agreement (an agreement between the President and Congress), but the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include any provision allowing an Executive-Legislative agreement to violate the Constitution; and there are a number of provisions in the U.S. Constitution that H.R.3364 might be determined by courts to be violating, as regards relinquishment to Congress of certain Executive powers over the negotiation of treaties, and over the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief. This is presuming, of course, that key judges cannot be bought-off.

When a country is being ruled by its oligarchs, anything that the nation’s Constitution says, can be viewed as little more than an impediment, not any outright ban, because the actual Constitution, in any such country, is whatever they want it to be. Just how bad the U.S. government has become, can’t yet be determined, but might become clear fairly soon.

Meanwhile, some senior journalists in Europe (such as this) are already beginning to argue that American policy toward Russia is not only draining massive funds from EU countries, but is driving a split in the EU, and also within NATO, which might break Europe apart, into the Eastern European, former Soviet countries, allied with the U.S.; versus the Western European countries, allied with Russia — driving potentially toward the termination of NATO, and of the EU, into an entirely new system of alliances: “Eastern Europe is a powder keg with several, burning lances. Twenty-eight years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the establishment of democracies, the region is sinking into a political crisis,” which has the United States backing the most far-right Eastern European countries, against Russia, but in which the Western European countries become increasingly allied with Russia.

It could happen.

It would not produce an anti-U.S. Western Europe, except to the extent that U.S. policies aim against Russia.

It would thus mean the end of the secret anti-Russia operation that U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush initiated on the night of 24 February 1990, and that has been carried out by the U.S., EU, and NATO, uninterrupted, ever since.  

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.

U.S. Sanctions on Moscow Push Closer to Dumping the Dollar ~ Hundreds of U.S. Diplomatic Staff to be Expelled from Russia

Source

PUTIN STRIKES BACK: Hundreds of U.S. Diplomatic Staff to be Expelled From Russia

Moscow has told the US to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia from 1100 to 455 people, and is also halting the use of embassy storage facilities in the capital, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.


MOSCOW STRIKES BACK: U.S. Sanctions Push Russia Closer to Dumping the Dollar

Thanks to U.S. Arrogance the World is in Tatters, Not Russian economy- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Jabs Obama.
ABC Interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov.

Good News: Anti-Russian Sanctions Bill `Will Result in a Tectonic Break Between US, Europe`

Source

The new US sanctions bill against Russia will lead to serious tensions between the European Union and the United States, according to experts.

The US Senate passed in a 98-2 vote a new version of a sanctions bill on Russia, Iran and North Korea, limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to lift the restrictions on Moscow.The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the bill on Tuesday. The chamber voted to attach Iran and Russia to a bill that originally targeted North Korea, which is what the Senate had requested. The bill passed by the Senate retains the stipulation that any attempt by the White House to lift or relax sanctions must go through the US Congress.

The restrictions target Russia’s defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries, and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies.

In addition, Washington continues to oppose the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, citing the alleged adverse impact it exerts on the energy security of the EU.

The EU described the new sanctions bill as a unilateral move and said Brussels is ready to “act appropriately” should Europe’s interests not be taken into account.Brussels’ major concern is that the new sanctions will affect energy cooperation with Russia, in particular the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“Abandonment of the Nord Stream 2 project is spelled out in the text of the bill, but in fact, any project in the EU-Russian cooperation in the field of energy security … may be subjected to sanctions, including pipeline repair work, on which EU energy security depends,” Gernot Erler, a member of the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying by the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if adopted, the US anti-Russia sanctions bill would be an “extra-cynical move.”

“These [sanctions] are evident attempts to use their [i.e., the US’s] geopolitical advantages in a competitive struggle with an aim to ensure [their] own economic interests at the expense of their allies,” Putin said.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the US to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1. Moreover, the ministry said that it reserves the reciprocal right to hit US interests in response to the US sanctions bill.”Of course such measures are impossible without authorization by the president,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

The possible new sanctions are likely to provoke a surge of serious tensions between the US and Europe, according to Alexei Grivach, deputy head of the National Energy Security Fund and an expert with the Valdai discussion club.

“These sanctions will affect a wide range of European companies involved in export projects with Russia. This will result in a new tectonic break between Washington and Brussels,” Grivach told Sputnik, adding that the European Commission is considering a “tough response.”

According to the expert, the new sanctions will be used as foreign political weapons and a tool to create more jobs in the US at the expense of the European market. They are also a blow to the self-respect of the European Union.

“This time, the US showed no politeness to its European allies. Brussels is not happy with the fact that Washington does not take Europe’s interests into consideration,” Grivach said.

He pointed out that the possible new sanctions comply with Donald Trump’s campaign promises.

“The point is that the new sanctions follow the logic of Trump’s election program, including creating new jobs, developing domestic energy and equating the trade balance with European countries,” Grivach said.The expert added that during the discussions some of the bill’s provisions were softened and thus “Congress is shifting to Trump the responsibility for tensions with Europe.”

Commenting further, he suggested that the scope of consequences of the new sanctions would depend not on Trump, but on Moscow and Brussels.
“Europe needs Russian gas and the Russian market. The question is whether the EU still has leaders who are ready to stand for the interests of Europe,” Grivach concluded.

Sergei Pravosudov, director of the National Energy Fund, also suggested that the new sanctions risk sparking confrontation between Washington and Brussels.

“Previously Europe actively supported Washington’s sanctions against Russia. But the new bill presumes measures that would seriously hit Europe’s interests. This situation is developing towards a conflict. In this situation, Russia would be a bargaining chip,” Pravosudov told Sputnik.

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