Dec 23, 2019

Russia vows retaliatory sanctions on U.S. over Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russia vowed Monday to respond to U.S. sanctions on its Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany, the AP reports.

The big picture: The U.S. enacted sanctions last week against individuals and companies building the pipeline — which forced a major contractor to suspend its work — arguing that it would increase Europe's dependency on Russian energy.

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the sanctions "absolutely unacceptable, blunt actions that violate all norms of international law and diplomatic and human decency," according to the AP.
  • Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's prime minister, said he has tasked his Cabinet with "possible restrictions" on the U.S. as retaliation.

The state of play: Germany said last week that it regretted the sanctions and believes the U.S is interfering in German domestic affairs.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the country is not considering retaliating against the sanctions.

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U.S. announces additional sanctions against Iran

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. announced additional sanctions against Iran on Friday, targeting "any individual owning, operating, trading with or assisting sectors of the Iranian economy, including construction, manufacturing, textiles and mining."

The big picture: The measures, announced at a rare White House briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, come as tensions with Iran have de-escalated following its retaliatory strike on U.S. bases in Iraq earlier this week.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Russia's prime minister resigns as Putin prepares for transition

Medvedev (R) and Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet resigned Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin announced major changes to the structure of Russia's government.

Why it matters: This is part of a much wider shakeup. Putin is facing constitutional term limits that, unless amended, will force him to leave office in 2024. In his state of the nation address, Putin proposed a referendum that would shift more power to the prime minister and cabinet and away from any presidential successor.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020

European leaders trigger dispute action in Iran deal

Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in August. Photo: Andrew Parsons/Pool/Getty Images

The leaders of the U.K., Germany and France said in a Tuesday letter that they are triggering a "dispute mechanism" in the Iran nuclear agreement in response to Tehran’s attempts to undo parts of the deal, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The action could lead to the restoration of European sanctions on Iran that were rolled back in 2015.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020