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Congress Upset That State Department Fails To Provide New Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Targets

Feb. 23 , 2021 (EIRNS)—There’s a lot of things that Congress has problems getting done, but imposing sanctions is not one of them. So, it came as a disappointment when the State Department, in its required report to Congress, failed to provide any new targets to penalize for their involvement in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe.

Eyebrows were raised when the only targets provided in the report had been targeted and sanctioned previously—the Russian pipe-laying ship Fortuna and its owner, KVT-RUS. Otherwise, 18 other firms (largely insurance firms) were included, but they were do-overs, and they have already decided to leave the project. Since construction restarted on Feb. 6 on the 90-95% completed submarine pipeline project, Congress has been itching to intervene again, and they didn’t get the report that they wanted. There is anxiety that the last 100 miles or so will be completed and natural gas will flow from Russia to Europe. Some speculation has it that Biden’s Administration is bending to pressure from Germany to allow the pipeline to be finished, regardless of the administration’s public comments against it. Regardless, the gas is needed, and it is notable when a modicum of sanity sneaks into international relations.

As witness of the bipartisan nervousness, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) said: “Maritime tracking information makes it clear that ships not covered in today’s report are currently active in supporting Nord Stream 2 construction. The administration’s decision to ignore these activities demands an immediate explanation.” And Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): “I look forward to being briefed by the Biden Administration on additional steps they can take to stop the threat posed by the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made the insane connection between European countries getting the gas they need and, somehow, simultaneously undermining their energy security: “The Biden Administration is signalling it is willing to let the pipeline be completed with catastrophic implications for American national security and for the energy security of our European allies.” He might do better worrying about the energy security of Texas. The man needs a vacation.

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