Russia to ban entry to US citizens in response to Nord Stream 2 sanctions

In response to the US’s sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project, which halted pipe-laying operations in the Baltic Sea in a mere day, Russia could expand its list of US citizens who are banned from entering the country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russian Interfax news agency.

Unlike the US’s blacklists, Russia’s lists are not public. Thus the people on the list will only find out about it when they try to cross the border, Ryabkov explained.

“The people who were the most active in promoting this specific decision and other sanction initiatives to the administration, and there are many of them – these people should not expect to be able to travel freely – as every American considers normal and natural for themselves – through our country,” he explained.

Russia’s retaliatory measures will not affect American businessmen who are working on projects in the real sector, the deputy minister promised: “That would go against the policy of our country’s leadership to attract to Russia foreign investments, normal and healthy cooperation with all partners who are interested in it”.

“As for economic measures as a response to the unlawful American sanctions, these measures have long been implemented, they are in effect, they affect the import of certain types of goods from the US,” Ryabkov noted, emphasizing that the counter-sanctions would not damage Russian consumers or the Russian market, but would nevertheless be “felt” by the American product manufacturers.

Russia hopes to be able to resolve the Nord Stream 2 issue with help from the EU, said Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak on Wednesday. “Economic interest will make a way,” because Russian gas is 30% cheaper than the LNG that the US is offering, he added.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that there has been “no catastrophe” with the $10 billion projects. According to Medvedev, the sanctions will delay construction by no more than a few months. “A month there, a month back, it’s no big deal,” said Medvedev.

But Russia does not have its own pipe-laying vessel capable of completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline instead of the ship belonging to the Swiss company Allseas, which ceased its operations in the Baltic Sea due to US sanctions, noted Alexey Rakhmanov, head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, on Tuesday.

According to him, such a vessel could take one and a half to two years to design and 3-4 years to build. “Unfortunately, for us, as always, it will be something made from nothing, and so we won’t get out of this in a shorter time frame,” the senior manager warned.

(C)UAWIRE 2019

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