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English Section

US moves to slap sanctions on vessel helping build Nord Stream 2: report

20.01.2021 14:00
The United States has moved to slap sanctions on a vessel helping build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to take Russian natural gas to Germany, a Polish website has reported. 
The Russian pipe-laying ship Fortuna arrives in the German port of Wismar earlier this month.
The Russian pipe-laying ship Fortuna arrives in the German port of Wismar earlier this month.Photo: PAP/Jens Büttner/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The energetyka24.com website said the move looked like a warning to Germany and Russia amid efforts to resume construction on the stalled controversial project.

The Polish website cited a report by the Reuters news agency according to which Washington has informed Berlin that it plans to impose sanctions on a Russian pipe-laying ship involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2.

The Reuters report quoted the German Economy Ministry as saying on Monday that it was “taking note of the announcement with regret.”

Reuters also quoted German business daily Handelsblatt as reporting earlier that the US sanctions would be imposed on the Russian pipe-laying ship Fortuna and its owner KVT-RUS.

The sanctions were expected to go into effect on Tuesday as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the US embassy in Berlin told Handelsblatt that Washington would continue to take “all necessary and appropriate steps” to prevent Nord Stream 2, according to Reuters.

The United States in December urged European allies and private firms to halt work that could help build the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as it readied new sanctions on the project, according to a report last month by Reuters.

The US Congress in December passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included legislation sanctioning any companies that provide upgrading services for vessels working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline or that provide insurance and certification services for the project, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported at the time.

In October, the United States targeted companies “providing services or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment” for vessels participating in the construction of Nord Stream 2 and companies funding those upgrades and installations.

Nord Stream 2, designed to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline, is expected to send around 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a media interview in September that the United States was working to build a coalition of countries to stop the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from being completed in Europe.

Speaking out on the pipeline in 2019, US President Donald Trump said: “We’re protecting Germany from Russia and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars from Germany.”

Poland has vehemently opposed the project, saying it will pose a threat to Europe’s energy security by doubling Russia’s gas export capacity via the Baltic Sea.

Poland’s minister for European affairs, Konrad Szymański, warned in an opinion piece in September last year that Nord Stream 2, if completed, would make Europe economically dependent on Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in August that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would allow Russia to buy weapons with European money.

Morawiecki has previously called Nord Stream 2 “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.

(gs/pk)

Source: energetyka24.com, Reuters