U.S. sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline are not a friendly action and they will draw a response, said Russia’s president on Thursday.
"We will respond based on the principle of reciprocity," Vladimir Putin told his annual year-end news conference in Moscow.
He said the U.S. sanctions over the pipeline would affect bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington.
The U.S. Congress on Tuesday approved a defense budget including sanctions on companies involved in Nord Stream 2 project.
The Nord Stream project -- operational since 2011 with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters -- brings Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
The Nord Stream 2, spearheaded by Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom, is nearly completed and has the same annual capacity, running almost parallel to the first pipeline route.
Together they will meet the annual gas demands of a quarter of the European continent.
Turning to Libya, when asked by an Anadolu Agency reporter about Western media claims that Russia is supporting Khalifa Haftar, the leader of forces based in eastern Libya, Putin said that “Russian authorities are in contact” with both Haftar and Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Libya’s UN-recognized government.
“We believe that the best possible way to find such a solution for the conflicting parties is to stop hostilities, and agree on who and within which mandate will run the country,” he added.
Putin also said he recently discussed the situation with his German, French, and Turkish counterparts.
A Turkish delegation will visit Moscow in the near future to discuss Libya, he added.
“I hope that we will find some solutions that will be accepted by Libya, its people and together with Mr. Salame,” he said, referring to Ghassan Salame, the top UN representative in Libya.
Since the ouster and death of ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.
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*Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet, Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak