Why hasn't the US gone after Gazprom?

The United States this week slapped additional sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals in response to that country's support for separatists in Ukraine, but one potential target has been conspicuously left alone.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.S. has refrained from sanctioning Russian natural gas giant Gazprom or its CEO Alexei Miller, and that's because the U.S. is wary of seriously disrupting commerce for its Western European allies, according to analysis from Oilprice.com.

Trade between the Europe Union and Russia stood at about $370 billion in 2012, about 14 times as much as trade between the United States and Russia. The EU gets about a third of its natural gas from Russia.

That said, congressional leaders are calling for tougher measures against Russia, with Republican Sen. John McCain last week explicitly saying the United States should target Gazprom in order to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Should that happen, the article says, Putin is almost certain to retaliate.

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