By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The German government has “noted with regret” a U.S. proposal to expand sanctions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
“New sanctions would constitute a serious interference in European energy security and EU sovereignty,” a statement by the Foreign Ministry said on June 14.
A group of bipartisan U.S. senators early this month submitted legislation to stop Russia from completing the controversial natural gas pipeline along the floor of the Baltic Sea.
The United States already has taken steps to halt the $11 billion project. A bill passed late last year allowed Washington to impose sanctions on any vessel that helps Russia complete the pipeline, forcing Western-owned ships to stop work.
To get around the legislation’s impact, Russia has sent its own vessel to the Baltic Sea to lay the remaining 160 kilometers of pipeline.
The new proposed legislation widens the sanctions in the existing law to include any entity that provides insurance, port facilities, or tethering services for the project as well as any company that certifies Nord Stream 2 for operation.
Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas), sponsor of the bill introduced on June 4, said there was bipartisan consensus that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “poses a critical threat to America’s national security and must not be completed.”
The United States opposes Nord Stream 2, claiming it undermines Ukraine and strengthens Russia’s grip on Europe’s energy industry.
The pipeline would enable Russia to reroute natural-gas exports to Europe around Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of billions of dollars in transit revenue.
Moscow has accused Washington of using sanctions to open the door for more U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe.