Senator Ted Cruz said the pipeline poses “a critical threat to US national security, and its construction should not be completed in principle”, quotes US Senator Bloomberg. He was supported by Senator Gene Shahin, who said that the pipeline under construction "threatens the energy independence of Europe and gives Russia the opportunity to exploit our allies". In his view, Congress should take decisive action towards the construction of this pipeline.
Sanctions were imposed last year as part of the US State Defense Act. AllSeas Group SA stopped construction, the project was suspended just a few weeks before the planned completion. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that, despite the sanctions, the pipeline will be completed by the end of this year or in the first quarter of the next.
According to Bloomberg, the US government fears that if the project is completed, then additional flows of Russian gas will increase the Kremlin’s political leverage over EU countries. Washington has repeatedly called on Europe to buy more liquefied natural gas from the United States.
The new bill provides for sanctions for all companies who will help Russia complete the construction of Nord Stream-2. The sanctions will also apply to those companies that insure Akademik Chersky and Fortuna vessels operating on the pipeline, and those companies that service ships, as well as ports that provide their facilities for pipeline construction. They are planning to submit the bill on Thursday. If these measures do not help, Congress will come up with yet another sanction in 2021.
Earlier, a number of European countries also hindered the construction of the Russian gas pipeline. Back in 2017, the EU proposed amending the Gas Directive, according to which Russia will not be able to use the gas pipeline under construction at full capacity. Until last spring, Germany resisted making changes, but later surrendered, the changes were accepted. Gazprom tried to circumvent the directive by asking to recognize the project completed before it was adopted, since all investments had already been made by then. But not one of the European countries supported the Russian company. Gazprom intends to further assert its rights in court.
Germany previously exempted the first Nord Stream pipeline for 20 years from the application of the Gas Directive. Technically, it did not fall under it anyway, since it was built earlier than the new directive was adopted, however, countries that joined the ranks against Russia decided to include this pipeline as well.