John Barrasso, Senator from Wyoming and a member of the Republican Party of the USA introduced a new bill to Congress providing sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as reported on Barrasso’s website.
According to the Senator, sanctions against the pipeline would allow NATO countries to avoid political manipulation and coercion by Russia. “Countries like Germany should be reducing the amount of natural gas that they buy from Russia, not increasing it. But that’s what this Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany does, it increases the amount of natural gas that Germany will be buying from Russia,” Barrasso stated.
The Senator noted that the Kremlin has been using the energy issue as an instrument of political pressure on Europe. This aspect becomes especially relevant considering that up to 40% of gas consumed by Europe is supplied from Russia. “It also means a lot of money going from our NATO allies straight into the Kremlin’s pockets,” the Senator stated.
Earlier, the US State Department warned about possible sanctions against investors in the project. “We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk,” the State Department’s press service stated on July 12.
US President Donald Trump also recently criticized the Nord Stream 2 project. He stated that Germany has become a “captive” of Russia because of its support for the project. In response, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the country is not dependent on other countries to make decisions.
After the negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump acknowledged that Nord Stream 2 is Germany’s decision. “[German Chancellor Angela Merkel] is paying Russia billions of dollars. Now that's her choice. I mean, she is going to do it, but it's a little tough when you are in NATO and you do that,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
Nevertheless, at the end of June it had already become known that during American-German negotiations, the representatives of Washington promised not to impose sanctions against the project.
“We have received a promise from America about the projects related to the pipelines and they promised to exclude these projects from sanctions,” said a representative of the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy following the negotiations.
The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipelines from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It will be 1,200 kilometers long with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The construction is controlled by the company Nord Stream 2 AG, which is wholly owned by Gazprom.
Authorities of Russia, Sweden, Finland and Germany gave permits for its construction. Nord Stream 2 is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2019.