The U.S. Senate has approved the draft National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021, which includes new sanctions against the Nord Stream-2 pipeline.
The document, which was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this week, received 86 votes in favor and only 14 against.
The $740.5 billion Defense Budget contains a provision for tightening sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project, which has been under sanctions since December last year, effectively halting its construction.
The new sanctions will be imposed for "promoting the sale, lease or delivery" of pipe-laying vessels for the construction of gas pipelines, "providing insurance and reinsurance," as well as services or facilities for the "technical modernization" of vessels associated with the construction of the pipeline.
"These sanctions will help stop this pipeline and eliminate this Russian geopolitical weapon," John Barrasso, one of the authors of the document, explained after the vote. "These sanctions will help us to stop the construction of this gas pipeline and eliminate this geopolitical weapon of Russia," he said.
The bill will now be sent to President Donald Trump, who has previously threatened to veto it. The document, in particular, contains a ban on reducing the number of U.S. military personnel in Germany and Afghanistan, as well as restrictions on the use of funds from the military budget for the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
The U.S. Embassy in Berlin has already begun to call representatives of German companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2, said earlier this week the Executive Director of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Michael Harms.
He warned that U.S. authorities could freeze the accounts of participating companies and extend sanctions to banks that finance the project.
Harms said the threat of U.S. sanctions could set a "dangerous precedent" and the EU "should act effectively against it." We need to avoid other states coming to similar ideas," he said.
On July 16 , the Chairman of German Eastern Business Association Oliver Hermes called the sanctions an unprecedented interference in EU energy sovereignty, adding Europe needed an "effective shield" to protect companies that have "unfairly suffered from US sanctions to protect them from financial damage."