The developer of US sanctions against a major Russian gas pipeline to Europe has expressed confidence that new sanctions will prevent the controversial project from being completed despite the Kremlin’s efforts.
Earlier this month, Congress passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, which provides for sanctions against companies providing ship modernization services for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as well as insurance and certification services for the project.
Russia is currently trying to modify its own vessels to complete the pipeline, which is more than 90 percent complete, prompting Congress to approve a new series of sanctions in an attempt to thwart further progress.
“I believe that gas will never flow through this project,” US Senator Ted Cruz, one of the sponsors of the law, said at an online conference hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.
The sanctions target “critical vulnerabilities without which the pipeline cannot be completed,” he said.
According to Cruz, just like last year, Russia is spreading misinformation that the completion of the project is inevitable.
“We know they were wrong then. Now they are wrong too. This project will not be completed, ”he said.
Republican Cruise, representing Texas, the largest US oil and gas producer, in the Senate, dismissed claims that the sanctions were an attempt to expand the European gas market for US energy exports, calling them Russian propaganda.
“From my point of view, getting gas from any source other than Russia significantly improves the situation for everyone,” Cruz said.
Christopher Robinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, speaking at the conference, said that Washington was against Nord Stream 2 and its predecessor, Nord Stream 1, long before it received legal and technical the ability to export liquefied natural gas.
“We don’t want to impose sanctions, but we will use these powers and these tools to stop the project,” Robinson said.
“I would say that these sanctions are working and we will stop this pipeline,” the American diplomat added.
According to Robinson, the shutdown of Nord Stream 2 could be the key to improving relations between the US and Russia in the future.
According to him, Moscow is currently seeking to expand its influence in Europe and “advance its geopolitical interests” with this project.
“If we want a more stable relationship with Russia, or seek to improve relations with Russia, then ending and containing hostile Russian influence will play a key role in this future US-Russian relationship, and we must stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” – said the deputy assistant secretary of state.