US Republicans urge sanctions on Russia-Germany gas pipeline project

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated file photo shows one of the pipe extensions used for the Nord Stream 2 project to transfer natural gas from Russia to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea. (By AFP)

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have urged the President Joe Biden administration to impose sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany.

Stopping the completion of the pipeline between Russia and Germany has been a US priority, with American politicians arguing that the gas deal would increase European dependence on Russian gas to the disadvantage of American companies.

"[S]trong statements in opposition to the pipeline are not being matched by equally strong actions," Republican lawmakers wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, urging him to impose new sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

The group, consisting of US House Foreign Affairs Committee members, also voiced concern about the administration's unwillingness to implement "plans for the mandatory Nord Stream 2 sanctions" required under current US legislation.

"[T]he Administration is talking tough while... avoid[ing] the full implementation of mandatory Congressional sanctions as required by law," the lawmakers wrote.

House Foreign Affairs Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX), House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and August Pfluger (R-TX) asked Blinken "for clarity on why numerous entities reportedly engaged in sanctionable activity related to the Russian malign Nord Stream 2 pipeline project have yet to be sanctioned."

The House Republicans said the Biden administration had insisted that it would do all in its power to stop the nearly completed project.

"We believe this would be consistent with your Administration's rhetoric on the pipeline, including your comments at your confirmation hearing emphasizing that the Biden administration was 'determined to do whatever we can to prevent' the completion of the project," the lawmakers said.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been called a "bad deal for Europe" by Biden himself publicly, and a sanctions package on the project continues to be a work in progress.

Two international projects aim to transfer natural gas from Russia to Europe, namely, the Nord Steam 2 and the TurkStream 2 pipelines.

The US has threatened to stop both projects by imposing sanctions on the companies involved.

The German government and businesses, however, have repeatedly said they will not abandon the Nord Stream 2 project.

German daily Bild earlier reported that a German state government even considered creating a special fund to counter the US sanctions against the gas project, which it says will tackle the problems of climate change, and may identify the project as the most important move for environmental protection.

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