US Congress initiates sanctions against Nord Stream 2

US Congress has found a way to help Russian President Vladimir Putin to reach an agreement with Ukraine on gas transit to Europe.

A few hours after the Normandy Format summit in Paris, where Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were unable to agree to withdraw all gas disputes or to sign a new transit contract, the US gave the green light to sanctions against Russia’s Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 projects.

The amendment on sanctions against the two gas pipelines, which Russia sees as a way to circumvent Ukraine’s gas transport system, was included in the US’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020. The document was approved by the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the same decision had been made earlier by the Defense Committee of the House of Representatives.

By imposing the sanctions, the bill aims to safeguard “Europe’s energy security”, the committee said in a statement.

According to Bloomberg, the sanctions against Nord Stream 2 will affect the companies involved in the construction of the pipeline, in particular those providing pipe-laying ships for depths greater than 100 feet (30.48 m), as well as their senior managers, who could be denied US visas and have their transactions through the American banking system blocked.

The initial version of the amendment, put forward last year by Republicans Ted Cruz and Jeanne Shaheen, contained additional sanctions against Russian government debt. However, this provision was removed from the final version.

The final decision on the sanctions must be made by Congress – voting will take place on December 20, after which the lawmakers will take their Christmas vacation.

  Nord Stream, USA, Gazprom, Russia