US imposes limited sanctions over Russian gas pipeline

Aug 20, 2021, 12:33 PM | Updated: 12:58 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration imposed new sanctions Friday on three Russian ships and companies involved in constructing a controversial gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.

The move comes as lawmakers from both parties criticize the administration for not doing enough to halt the Nord Stream 2 project. But it is unlikely to assuage the critics as it leaves in place sanctions exemptions against the German company actually building the pipeline and its CEO.

The new sanctions target a Russian ship, the Ostap Sheremeta, involved in laying pipe for the project that is nearly complete; the Russian owner of another vessel, JSC Nobility; and the construction firm Konstanta OOO.

The sanctions notably do not target the German company Nord Stream AG, which is the project’s owner, or its top executives. The administration had earlier this year waived those sanctions, prompting severe pushback from members of Congress who believe the pipeline is a dangerous Russian power play. The administration maintains it opposes the project but says it is a fait accompli. It also says trying to stop it would harm relations with Germany.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “Even as the administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including via our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline to Ukraine and frontline NATO and EU countries and to push back against harmful Russian activities, including in the energy sphere.”

Friday’s announcement came just a month after the U.S and Germany reached a deal to allow Nord Stream 2´s completion without the imposition of U.S. sanctions on German companies.

Under the terms of the July 21 deal, the U.S. and Germany committed to countering any Russian attempt to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon. And, they agreed to support Ukraine and Poland, both of which are bypassed by the project and fear Russia’s intentions, by funding alternative energy and development projects.

The Nord Stream 2 project has posed a major foreign policy dilemma for the Biden administration. U.S. officials from both parties have long feared that it would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies. But the pipeline is almost completed and the U.S. has been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration.

Poland and Ukraine expressed their displeasure over the decision to allow the pipeline’s completion and said the efforts to reduce the Russian security threat were not sufficient.

Both Republicans and Democrats have assailed the administration’s approach, including Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the highest ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Biden administration “continues to disregard the intent of congressionally mandated sanctions” by exempting some parties to the project. “Instead, the president has paved the way for this Russian malign influence project to become operational,” he said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has gone so far as to block almost all of Biden’s nominees for senior State Department positions over the waivers.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisc...
Associated Press

Elon Musk’s mysterious ways on display in Tesla tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk’s enigmatic personality and unconventional tactics are emerging as key exhibits in a trial revolving around one of his most polarizing pursuits — tweeting. The trial, centered on a pair of tweets announcing Musk had obtained the money to take Tesla private in 2018, reeled the 51-year-old billionaire into a […]
11 hours ago
FILE - House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses during a break in the taping of an interview ...
Associated Press

Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Sunday he is looking forward to discussing with President Joe Biden a “reasonable and responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling ” when the two meet Wednesday for their first sit-down at the White House since McCarthy was elected to the post. McCarthy, R-Calif., said […]
11 hours ago
A resident of Salinas, considered one of the most contaminated towns in Puerto Rico, waits for a me...
Associated Press

Puerto Rico’s southern region fights for cleaner air, water

SALINAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shuttered windows are a permanent fixture in Salinas, an industrial town on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast that is considered one of the U.S. territory’s most contaminated regions. For years, toxic ash and noxious chemicals from coal-fired and thermoelectric power plants have enveloped this community, and residents have complained about health […]
11 hours ago
People lay flowers to commemorate British volunteers Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw, killed in Ukra...
Associated Press

Russia alleges Ukraine war crimes; friends mourn volunteer

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Friends and volunteers gathered Sunday at Kyiv’s St Sophia’s Cathedral to say goodbye to Andrew Bagshaw, a New Zealand scientist who was killed in Ukraine while he and another volunteer who also died tried to evacuate people from a front-line town. Bagshaw, 48, a dual New Zealand-British citizen, and British volunteer […]
11 hours ago
Jessie Blanchard's jeep bumper holds a sticker with the slogan "Yes We Narcan" on Monday, Jan. 23, ...
Associated Press

Experts urge better opioid rescue drug access to save lives

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Jessie Blanchard started small nearly five years ago, just trying to get enough of the rescue drug naloxone that reverses opioid overdoses to keep her daughter from dying from an overdose. She pleaded with colleagues at the college where she’s an adjunct teacher in Albany, Georgia, to use their prescription benefits […]
11 hours ago
Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, right, shakes hands with Lebane...
Associated Press

Qatar replaces Russian company in Lebanon gas exploration

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon, two international oil giants and state-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy signed an agreement Sunday that the Qatari firm will join a consortium that will search for gas in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast. The deal inked in Beirut brings Qatar into Lebanon’s gas exploration market three months after […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
US imposes limited sanctions over Russian gas pipeline