On Thursday, the United States called for the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be stopped “immediately”. Every body involved in the Nord Stream 2 project between Russia and Germany must withdraw “immediately” or expect US sanctions, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The administration of US President Joe Biden is obliged to implement the sanctions law passed by Congress.
Nord Stream 2 was “a bad deal – for Germany, for Ukraine and for our Central and Eastern European partners,” said Blinken’s message. “As several US governments have made clear, this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project designed to divide Europe and weaken European energy security.”
Sanctions against the lay ship
According to Blinkens words, the pipeline is now 95 percent complete. So far, the US has only imposed sanctions on the Russian company KVT-RUS, which operates the Fortuna lay-ship, because of Nord Stream 2 – the government of the Republican US President Donald Trump announced these punitive measures shortly before the end of her term in January. In a report published last month by the US State Department under Blinken, contrary to expectations, no other companies were punished or threatened with punitive measures.
The United States are storming the project because they fear that their partners in Europe are too dependent on Russia. US critics argue that the US wants to sell its own gas in Europe.
Republican Senators Ted Cruz and James Risch last week called on Blinken to immediately impose sanctions on companies that are involved in Nord Stream 2. Cruz – who is one of Nord Stream 2’s fiercest opponents – had also announced that he would not approve Biden’s candidates for important government posts in the Senate.
Cruz announced on Thursday that after blinking the “warning” he would give his approval to two of the candidates, including William Burns, whom Biden has nominated as head of the CIA’s foreign intelligence service. Until further sanctions are imposed, he will not give his support to Biden’s candidate for deputy foreign ministerial post, Wendy Sherman, and future nominations for posts in the State Department.
Chancellor Short for project
Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) is a proponent of the project, which the oil and gas company OMV is also involved in financing. Nord Stream is a “European project” that is in the interests of many EU countries, he said in February, according to German media reports. “Anyone who thinks that the new pipeline would only be in Russia’s interest is wrong,” said Kurz.