The State Department informed Congress that it has designated a vessel and a “Russian-related entity” called Transadria Ltd. that is linked to the controversial gas pipeline that was built to transport natural gas from Russia to Germany and has raised concerns about the capacity of Moscow to use the energy supply as a lever on Europe.
Blinken said the report to Congress and the sanctions meet the requirements of the European Energy Security Protection Act of 2019.
“Today’s report is in line with continued US opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the US government’s continued compliance with PEESA,” Blinken said in his statement. “With today’s action, the Administration has sanctioned 8 people and identified 17 of their vessels as blocked property in accordance with PEESA in relation to Nord Stream 2.”
“Even as the Administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including through our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline for Ukraine and the front-line countries of NATO and the EU and to push back against the harmful activities of Russia, including in the energy sphere, “said Blinken.
Monday’s sanctions come as reports of Russian troops gathering near the Ukrainian border have sparked fears that Moscow may be planning some sort of military action.
Biden administration officials say that since the pipeline was essentially complete when they took office, President Joe Biden waived sanctions against the German companies behind the pipeline construction to repair the relationship with Berlin. Instead, administration officials said they planned to take other steps.
“Today’s appointments will do absolutely nothing to stop Nord Stream 2,” said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I urge the Senate to adopt my bipartisan NDAA amendment with Rep. Marcy Kaptur expanding the Nord Stream 2 sanctions. We must act now to ensure that gas never flows through this malicious Russian-influenced project.”
Nord Stream 2 is one of several pipelines that Russia has laid underwater in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea to replace the pipelines running through Eastern Europe. Analysts and lawmakers have expressed concern that the new system allows Russia to create different gas flows for Eastern Europe and Western Europe and could allow Moscow to selectively target countries like Ukraine with power outages.
Bypassing Eastern European countries also means that those nations would be deprived of transit fees that Russia would otherwise pay to get the pipeline through their territories.
A State Department spokesman said the administration is working with Germany, Ukraine and other allies and partners to implement a July agreement to help Ukraine diversify its energy supply with an emphasis on clean and sustainable energy.
“The package of measures detailed in the joint statement provides at least $ 245 million in new funding to help Ukraine diversify its energy resources,” the spokesman said. “It also commits Germany to use all available leverage to facilitate an extension of Ukraine’s gas transit agreement with Russia, which would help preserve billions of dollars in transit revenue for Ukraine and buy time for Ukraine to phase out its dependence on Russian gas and transit fees. ” , even with the support of the United States. ”
Monday’s US sanctions follow Berlin’s decision last week to suspend the Nord Stream 2 certification process because the Swiss-based group behind the project needed to form a German subsidiary to obtain an operating license. News of the delay sent European gas prices skyrocketing.