US readies sanctions on Russian gas project opposed by Poland: reports

The US Congress is readying a bill to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline being built from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, an energy project opposed by Poland, according to reports.

Image by Magnascan from Pixabay

Image by Magnascan from Pixabay Pixabay License

The new US defence policy bill aims to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin’s USD 11 billion project to deliver natural gas to Europe via the new pipeline, the defensenews.com website has reported.

It cited a US lawmaker as saying that the draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act carried sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 project.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch has said he believes the sanctions will persuade the construction firms involved to stop work on the project, defensenews.com reported.

Risch, a Republican senator from the state of Idaho, said on Friday, as quoted by the website, that the reason for the push is that „this window is closing” as “a lot of Nord Stream is done already.”

He added, according to defensenews.com: “It will cost them dearly. I think if those sanctions pass [the companies] will shut down, and I think the Russians will have to look for another way to do this, if they can do this.”

The inclusion of the sanctions in the bill is a strong sign, but lawmakers in the US House of Representatives and the Senate have yet to reach a final deal on the massive piece of legislation, defensenews.com reported.

The latest sanctions push comes after four US senators in mid-May introduced a bipartisan bill known as the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act, aimed at obstructing the pipeline between Germany and Russia.

The controversial 1,200-kilometre pipeline is expected to have the capacity to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

Warsaw and Washington have both strongly criticised the project amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

US President Donald Trump was cited as saying in June that Nord Stream 2 „really makes Germany a hostage of Russia if things ever happen that were bad.”

He added, as quoted by the Reuters news agency at the time: “We’re protecting Germany from Russia and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars from Germany.”

US Vice President Mike Pence warned earlier this year that America “cannot ensure the defence of the West” if its allies grow dependent on Moscow as a result of projects such as Nord Stream 2.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last May that Nord Stream 2 was “a new hybrid weapon” aimed at the European Union and NATO.

(gs/pk)

Source: wp.pl, defensenews.com

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