US tells companies to ‘get out’ of Russian gas projects
WASHINGTON (AA): US State Secretary Mike Pompeo warned on Wednesday the companies working at Nord Stream 2 and the second line of Turk Stream energy pipeline projects are at risk of US sanctions, citing Russia’s “malign” influence in Europe.
Speaking at a press briefing, Pompeo said the Department of State is updating public guidance for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) authorities to include these projects.
“This action puts investment and other activities related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of US sanctions,” he said. “It is a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects and [they] will not be tolerated.”
“Get out now and or risk consequences,” the top diplomat warned.
He said those investments are “not commercial projects” but are Kremlin’s “key tools to exploit and expand” European dependence on energy supplies.
For his part, Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources at State Department, said the US has been hard at work, assisting and promoting more energy options for Europe, including Belarus and Lithuania, among others.
“The US has been clear in its support for the rights of our European allies and partners to have reliable choices for energy, choices that are not conditioned on political and military pressure from the Kremlin,” Fannon said.
Meanwhile, US imposed Wednesday visa restrictions on certain employees of Huawei tech company over the human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Xinjiang, northwest China.
“Companies impacted by today’s action include Huawei, an arm of the CCP’s surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China,” State Secretary Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“Certain Huawei employees provide material support to the CCP regime that commits human rights abuses,” Pompeo added.
The secretary did not make public the identities of individuals who were barred from entering the US.
“Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on notice: If they are doing business with Huawei, they are doing business with human rights abusers,” said the top diplomat.
Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population.