The United States planed to impose sanctions on four vessels involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and four related companies, Politico reported, citing unnamed sources.
The outlet confirmed an initial report by Axios that the sanctions will not affect the Nord Stream 2 operator Nord Stream 2 AG and its head Matthias Warnig.
According to Politico sources, the imposition of sanctions on four ships and companies will delay the completion of Nord Stream 2. The exact organizations were not specified. It is expected that these measures will be included in the report of the US Department of State, the document can be submitted to Congress today, May 19.
Politico’s sources confirmed the Axios report, according to which the administration of President Joe Biden decided not to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG and Mr. Warnig. At the same time, a representative of the State Department did not comment to Politico about the waiver of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG.
On May 18, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
During the conversation, Blinken reiterated that the United States opposes the gas pipeline project. Nord Stream 2 envisages the construction of a gas pipeline from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. In the waters of Denmark, it remains to lay about 120 km, and in the waters of Germany – just over 30 km. It is planned to finish laying the pipeline by the end of September 2021.
A State Department spokesperson told Axios that the Biden administration had made clear that companies participating in Nord Stream 2 could face sanctions and would “continue to underscore U.S. strong, bipartisan opposition to this Russian malign influence project.”
“The Biden administration has been clear that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project that threatens European energy security and that of Ukraine and eastern flank NATO allies and partners,” the spokesperson said.
The State Department spokesperson would not confirm the waivers or any details about the imminent report.
Sanctions against firms building or financing the pipeline, which would deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, has bipartisan support in Congress. But the Biden administration is keen to maintain a good relationship with the German government, which has supported the project.
Republican lawmakers in particular had pushed the Biden administration to use financial punishments to stop the pipeline.
“If the Putin regime is allowed to finish this pipeline, it will be because the Biden Administration chose to let it happen,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said. “I want to be clear: this pipeline is not a simple commercial project that could frustrate our relationship with Berlin. It is a Russian malign influence project that threatens to deepen Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow, render Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian aggression and provide billions of dollars to Putin’s coffers.“
Sanctions against the ship companies building the pipeline could still delay the completion of Nord Stream 2, which is more than 90 percent complete, the sources said. Opponents of the pipeline are also looking to the German Green Party, which has opposed the pipeline, to win seats in parliamentary elections scheduled for September.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Germany’s Political Crisis and the Future of Nord Stream 2
- U.S. To Keep Sanctioning Nord Stream 2, As Completion Nears