The United States will continue its sanctions against companies involved in the completion of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.
Blinken says the U.S. imposed sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the gas pipeline and made it clear that "we will continue to do that."
According to him, the topic of the gas pipeline was raised during his recent meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Brussels.
"We think it [building the pipeline] is a bad idea, and it was important for us to be able to tell that directly to our close partner, Germany," Blinken said.
"It is potentially harmful to Ukraine, to Poland, to other countries. It gives Russia more of a weapon of using energy as a tool of coercion," he said.
He noted that NATO partners were closely cooperating with each other, despite the differences over Nord Stream 2. According to him, Russia's aggressive behavior is the main source of concern for the United States and its NATO allies.
When asked whether the U.S. government could do something to stop its completion, he replied that "that's up to those who are trying to build the pipeline and complete it."
"We just wanted to make sure that our position, our opposition to the pipeline was well understood," Blinken added.
Nord Stream 2: Background
- The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction and operation of two gas pipeline branches with a total throughput capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It should connect Russia's Ust-Lug and Germany's Greifswald. This new pipeline bypassing Ukraine is to be built next to the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
- The construction of the pipeline was expected to be completed before the end of 2019.
- The pipeline will be 1,220 km long. The project is being implemented by Russia's Gazprom in alliance with European companies – ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper, and Wintershall. Ukraine stands against the construction of Nord Stream 2 as it will most likely lose its status of a gas transit country, while its potential revenue losses are estimated at US$3 billion annually. The project is also highly criticized by the U.S., Poland, and the Baltic States.
- On November 4, 2020, the media reported that U.S. Congress wanted to expand sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream.
- On December 6, 2020, United States Charge d'Affaires to Germany Robin Quinville called on the EU and Germany to declare a moratorium on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On December 9, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with expanded restrictions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On December 11, 2020, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline resumed.
- On December 29, 2020, it became known that the House of Representatives overcame the then President Donald Trump's veto on the U.S. defense budget with sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
- The United States is urging European allies and private companies to halt works on Nord Stream 2, and is preparing broader sanctions against the Russian project in the coming weeks.
- The U.S. Senate approved the U.S. defense budget for the fiscal year 2021, which provides for new sanctions against Russia's Nord Stream 2.
- On January 7, 2021, a fund was established in Germany to support the completion of the Nord Stream 2 project.
- On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State notified European companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 of the risk of imposing new sanctions.
- On January 18, 2021, the United States warned allies in Europe about its intention to impose sanctions on the Russian ship Fortuna, which is engaged in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
- On March 14, 2021, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said that Europe did not need the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Despite this, Germany continues to insist on the completion of the project.
- On March 18, 2021, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline a trap for all countries across Europe.