Recently, the U.S. State Department did not propose new sanctions in its latest report on the “Nord Stream-2” natural gas pipeline project, which triggered protests from both democratic and republican members of Congress.
At present, the debate over this pipeline between Russia and Germany has caused the new U.S. President Biden’s government to waver between seeking to continue to put pressure on Russia and establish a closer relationship with Germany.
The lack of reference to sanctions in the report is controversial.
According to the Wall Street Journal on the 21st, in a report on the “Nord Stream-2” project submitted to the U.S. Congress on the 19th, the U.S. State Department has neither proposed new sanctions against Russian companies nor proposed sanctions against some German or other European companies participating in pipeline projects.
The Wall Street Journal analyzed that this move was tantamount to acquiescing in the continuation of the project, which was dissatisfied with many members of both parties in Congress, and asked the Biden administration to further clarify its position.
Speaking of the report on the 20th, Republican Senator Ted Cruz said: “It is shocking that the Biden administration gave [Russian President] Putin the victory it had been seeking for more than a decade.” Cruz accused that “the Biden administration is sending a signal that it is willing to complete this gas pipeline, which will have a disastrous impact.” Sources say that some key Democrats also share Cruz’s views.
After the release of the report, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated the position of the United States against the construction of the “Nord Stream-2” project on the 19th, but he also said that the United States would continue to cooperate with allied partners to ensure that Europe has a reliable and diversified energy supply network and does not harm the West’s Collective security, “Our goal in all these aspects is to strengthen energy security in Europe and prevent predatory behavior.”
If Germany wants to push Nord Steam, the United States may find another way out.
The “Nord Stream-2” project is jointly built by European enterprises such as Russia and Germany. More than 90% of the pipelines have been laid, and the pipelines to be laid are about 100 kilometers long.
The Trump administration introduced sanctions on the “Nord Stream-2” project at the end of 2019, causing one of the builders, Swiss All Ocean, to suspend the laying of pipelines. The project stalled for more than a year. Later, it resumed work in December 2020.
The Russian KVT-Rus “Lucky” Na” homework. However, at that time, the Trump administration also suppressed the Lucky and its companies, resulting in two more European companies announcing their withdrawal from the Nord Steam-2 project.
According to the Russian Sputnik News Agency, the 2021 FY defense budget passed by the U.S. Senate on January 1, 2021 shows that the U.S. will expand the sanctions on the “Nord Stream-2” project to institutions that provide testing, inspection or certification services. The Norwegian Classification Society (DNV GL) therefore announced that it would stop the inspection of the pipeline and said that it would not be able to certify it.
In addition, although the Biden administration announced the imposition of sanctions on the Lucky and its company KVT-Rus in late January, in the latest report to Congress, the U.S. State Department only mentioned that the paving ship Lucky and KVT-Rus violated U.S. sanctions, and did not mention any Punitive measures have not been mentioned as to any new targets of sanctions.
Sadigev, vice chairman of the board of directors of Gazprom, who is leading the “Nord Steam-2” project, said on February 19 that the project has been in progress since it resumed last December, and they believe that the project can be completed.
Although the new Biden-led government also intends to block the “Nord Stream-2” project, Al Jazeera quoted four people familiar with the matter on the 19th as saying that they are seeking to stop the project without conflict with Germany, a close ally in Europe.
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken believes that it is more important to find a diplomatic solution to bridge the rift caused by the Trump administration’s implementation of the “America First” foreign policy.
Like Russia, Germany is still seeking to keep the project running.” When Nord Steam-2 is put into use, Russia’s natural gas exports to Germany can be doubled, which can help Germany achieve a clean energy transformation. Even as Russia’s relationship with the European Union has frozen due to the arrest of Russian opposition figure Navaline, German Chancellor Merkel stressed on February 5 when accusing the Russian government of detaining Navaline that Germany would not link the “Nord Stream-2” project to the Navaline incident, but would maintain dialogue with Russia.