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English Section

US senators introduce bill to expand Nord Stream 2 sanctions

05.06.2020 13:15
A group of US senators have introduced a bill to expand sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being built from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, an energy project opposed by Washington and Warsaw, a Polish website has reported.
The Russian pipe-laying ship Academic Cherskiy is seen moored near the German port of  Mukran in the Baltic last month amid efforts to complete the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 undersea natural-gas pipeline.
The Russian pipe-laying ship Academic Cherskiy is seen moored near the German port of Mukran in the Baltic last month amid efforts to complete the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 undersea natural-gas pipeline.Photo: EPA/JENS KOEHLER

The bill, known as the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act, aims to stop Russia from completing the controversial project by slapping penalties on companies assisting with the construction of the pipeline, the biznesalert.pl website reported.

The legislation, spearheaded by Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen follows a measure approved by the US Congress and signed by President Donald Trump late last year.

"There is bipartisan and bicameral consensus that Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses a critical threat to America's national security and must not be completed," Sen. Cruz said in a statement accompanying the new bill.

He added that the legislation “will once and for all clarify that those involved in any way with installing pipeline for the project will face crippling and immediate American sanctions."

Sen. Shaheen said the effort aimed “to ensure that Russia does not surreptitiously extend its malign influence throughout Europe.”

She added that “Nord Stream 2 threatens Ukraine, Europe’s energy independence and gives Russia an opening to exploit our allies.”

The bill must be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by Trump.

It seeks to impose sanctions on “vessels engaged in all pipe laying activities” as well as companies that provide services for those vessels, including “insurance, port facilities, or tethering services,” and ultimately “any company that provides certification for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to begin operations.”

The Nord Stream 2 undersea gas link is an energy project strongly criticised by Poland and the United States amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

Once up and running, the 1,200-kilometre link is expected to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

The US Senate in December approved a massive defence policy bill that included a measure to punish companies involved in work to build the pipeline.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the EU and NATO.

Poland’s antitrust authority on Wednesday said it had initiated proceedings against Russia’s Gazprom company in a case involving the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

(gs/pk)

Source: biznesalert.pl, cruz.senate.gov