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Washington has threatened all companies involved in the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with sanctions, signaling there is at least one segment of U.S. foreign policy where the Biden administration will continue the policies of the Trump administration.
"As the President has said, Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal—for Germany, for Ukraine, and for our Central and Eastern European allies and partners," said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a statement. "The Department is tracking efforts to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is evaluating information regarding entities that appear to be involved."
"As multiple U.S. administrations have made clear, this pipeline is a Russian geopolitical project intended to divide Europe and weaken European energy security. The sanctions legislation Congress passed in 2019 and expanded in 2020 has significant support from a bipartisan Congressional majority," Blinken also said in the statement.
Earlier this year, under sanction pressure from the U.S., two Western European companies involved in the project said they would quit the project. Even project leader Gazprom reportedly told investors the project may be suspended or discontinued due to extraordinary circumstances, including "political pressure."
Russian President Putin's press secretary called the widening sanctions a kind of hybrid warfare at the end of last year, saying, "This international project is still facing crude, illegal pressure from the United States of America."
Last month, German media reported, however, that the U.S. was ready to discuss lifting Nord Stream 2 sanctions if Germany was willing to offer a way to quench Washington's concern about Europe's energy security. Germany will be the biggest beneficiary of additional Russian gas flows and, unlike its friends in Washington, does not seem to believe the deal is bad for it as it continues to shut down its coal and nuclear power plants.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com