US threatens firms involved in Nord Stream 2 construction with new sanctions
The United States has resumed its efforts to prevent the completion of Nord Stream 2, threatening to impose new sanctions. The construction of Nord Stream 2 has been drawn out for a long time. As a result, it is no longer so relevant. Europe has significantly reduced its gas consumption. Natural gas prices have dropped. Experts, including Russian ones, say that even if the construction is completed, the pipeline will hardly work at full capacity. Nevertheless, the US is still struggling to stand in the way of the project by slapping sanctions.
This time, both German-Russian and Turkish-Russian natural gas pipelines turned out to be in the focus of the US. The new measures could affect both investors and partners of these projects. "It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a State Department news conference. This move is primarily aimed at punishing ship insurers, service companies, and firms that provide certification for Nord Stream 2. The gas pipeline will not be able to begin operations without these documents. Expanded US sanctions will block over 700 million euros invested in Nord Stream 2 by foreign companies. In total, above 120 firms from more than 12 European countries will be hit.
Berlin is not considering retaliation against the United States. The government claims that it stands for the construction of the pipeline. According to Klaus Ernst, the chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy, the fact that the US Congress acts as a regulator of European issues is absurd. Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project implemented under EU legislation. He believes that US authorities are trying to illegally assert their own economic interests against European companies. However, on the flip side, the Russian project receives no real support from Germany, nothing but words.