A ship also punishes?
Just before the 45th US President Donald Trump left office, the US Treasury Department announced on January 19 that the United States had imposed sanctions on the Russian Fortuna and the KVT-Rus company owned the ship. for participating in the construction of the Northern Stream 2 gas pipeline (Nord Stream 2) under the Sanctioning US Competitors Act (CAATSA).
On the same day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would consider imposing more sanctions on Russia in the near future, based on two US laws allowing such actions to be taken.
On the Russian side, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia regrets the latest US sanctions against the Northern Flow 2 project, but Moscow intends to continue promoting the project. Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said that the US will not win by imposing sanctions on the participants of the Northern Flow 2 project in an attempt to force European countries to buy US raw materials. .
On the embassy’s Facebook website, Antonov emphasized: “Washington has long sought ways to hinder the implementation of this international trade project. A number of legislative measures have been passed.
Unfounded threats were constantly being raised against Russia and European partners interested in cooperation in the gas sector. There was rough pressure on the participants of the Northern Flow 2 “project.
The Russian diplomat criticized: “The United States has gone beyond the norm of its conspiracy to achieve its opportunistic goals. The United States violates the norms of international law, the principles of fair trade and the self.” The US does not even pay attention to the opinions of allied countries.
All of this is just unhealthy competition. The desire to create an advantage for themselves in the European energy markets, forces the countries in the region to buy US raw materials. In the end, no one will win this project. “
Northern Stream 2, designed to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream’s undersea gas pipeline, would send gas through Germany, bypassing Ukraine, to to Europe, thereby preventing Kiev from receiving revenue from shipping charges.
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The US – which wants to sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe – says Northern Flow 2 will help increase Russia’s economic and political leverage over Europe, while Moscow and Germany assert that it’s a commercial project.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement: “The United States is not afraid to hold those who continue to support and support this Russian tool accountable”.
The State Department said it would consider further actions in the near future, pursuant to CAATSA and under the newly expanded defense policy bill in the annual defense policy bill.
Bad signal from America
Notably, Trump’s successor is the 46th President Joe Biden who has previously opposed the Northern Flow 2. During a Senate hearing to confirm Antony Blinken’s nomination as US secretary of state today January 19, Mr. Blinken said that President-elect Biden was very unanimous with members of Congress that this pipeline is a bad idea.
Mr Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he has yet to discuss the matter with Mr. Biden, but the new administration will utilize “all the tools” available to persuade countries, including Germany.
Earlier, on Jan. 18, Germany, which was looking to phase out nuclear and coal power plants, said it was disappointed by the new sanctions, after Washington informed Berlin in advance of its actions. my movement.
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Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom leads the $ 11 billion Northern Flow 2 project with Western partners including Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, OMV and Shell. In a prospectus on European bonds that Reuters news agency gathered on January 19, Gazprom admitted that the project was at risk of being suspended or scrapped.
Gazprom previously suspended construction of the pipeline at the end of 2019 because main pipeline installation company Allseas gave up after Mr Trump signed more sanctions. Work resumed last month, when a small 1.6-mile (2.6 km) pipeline was installed in German waters.
More than 90% of the project is completed, but more than 62 miles (100 km) still need to be installed in the offshore area of Denmark, requiring specialized construction equipment. According to Refinitiv’s ship tracking data, the Fortuna is still anchored in the Baltic Sea, near the port of Rostock in northern Germany.
In the context of the US with a new President, on January 20, the Kremlin assumed that any progression in tense relations between Moscow and Washington would depend on the new President Joe Biden as he enters the White House. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Russia will live as it has existed for hundreds of years: seeking good relations with the United States”.
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According to him, whether Washington works towards achieving this same goal “will depend on Mr. Biden and his team”.
He pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains “consistently” in favor of maintaining the New Strategic Assault Weapons Reduction Treaty (New START) and that it is up to Washington to maintain it now.
In addition, Mr. Peskov emphasized that the change of US president will make no difference to Russia and that the Kremlin is not preparing anything for Biden’s inauguration.
On the same day, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev called on Russia and the United States to heal the relationship. Gorbachev, in an interview with the national news agency TASS, emphasized that the current situation of the bilateral relationship is of great concern, but also means action is needed to normalize relations.
The 89-year-old former Soviet leader reaffirmed the need to maintain the New START Treaty, which limits the total number of Russian and US nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, which is due to expire on May 5. 2 coming.
According to Mr. Gorbachev, after the New START Treaty is renewed, “an ambitious pact” is likely to be negotiated over the next few years as new weapons are developed.