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EU Divided on How to Answer New U.S. Sanctions Against Russia

BRUSSELS — European Commission preparations to retaliate against proposed new U.S. sanctions on Russia that could affect European firms are likely to face resistance within a bloc divided on how to deal with Moscow, diplomats, officials and experts say.

A bill agreed by U.S. Senate and House leaders foresees fines for companies aiding Russia to build energy export pipelines. EU firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a 9.5 billion euro ($11.1 billion) project to carry Russian gas across the Baltic, are likely to be affected.

Both the European Union and the United States imposed broad economic sanctions on Russia’s financial, defense and energy sectors in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its direct support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

But northern EU states in particular have sought to shield the supplies of Russian gas that they rely on.

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