Nord Stream 2 will be discussed with European partners by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. On Wednesday, July 22, he flew to Denmark. The Russian gas pipeline is one of the main topics of discussion. Now Washington wants to increase pressure on the project participants.
Part of the pipeline is to be built in Danish territorial waters. Copenhagen, after much hesitation last year, agreed to this. But the work could not begin because of Washington’s sanctions against Nord Stream. A week ago, it was reported that the permit had to be adjusted. On Monday, the House of Representatives approved the draft U.S. defense budget, which includes a paragraph on additional sanctions.
The draft U.S. budget, approved by the Congressmen, refers to sanctions against the projects Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream 2. Six months ago, the Americans already imposed restrictions on construction agents. The works had to be stopped, although Nord Stream 2 is more than 90 per cent ready. In Washington they promise not to leave the Europeans without gas, and the Russian projects are described by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as follows:
“These are not commercial projects. They are the key tools of the Kremlin to be used for its own purposes and to increase Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies”.
The threat of blackmail is being discussed in Warsaw and Kyiv. “Nord Stream, which is the source of intense debate and fear in Central and Eastern Europe, is the pipeline that runs through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. In this way Moscow has an alternative to the Ukrainian mains and an additional opportunity to supply gas to Western Europe. The first phase of the project has already been launched, but the prospects for the second phase are now questionable. While Berlin and Moscow are outraged by the American dictate, foreign pipe-laying ships refuse to go out to sea.
“If some European companies suspect that their work will be sanctioned, all activity will be stopped instantly. “No one will dare challenge American sanctions. The project will most likely not go forward,” believes economic analyst Mikhail Krutikhin.
However, at the end of 2019, when Washington began to impose sanctions against the second phase of Nord Stream, the same experts argued that the construction is unlikely to be stopped, although they recognized the economic inexpediency of the project. At that time, Moscow was hoping that the work could be completed on its own, but now Washington is ready to hit everyone who helps in the construction, such as issuing insurance or selling equipment. The new package of sanctions has not been adopted yet, but Democrats and Republicans are speaking out in support of the restrictions, which means that the chances of passing it are very high.
Ian Maravitski / vot-tak.tv
photo: RITZAU SCANPIX / Reuters / Forum