On Thursday, supporters of sanctions against the operator of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and other firms related to the operation and certification of the gas pipeline were five votes short of its approval by the US Senate. The bill, proposed by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, was voted down. 55 senators voted in favor of the bill, 44 against.
Among those who voted against were Democratic senators who called the bill an attempt by opponents of US President Joe Biden to strike a political blow at the president, who decided not to impose sanctions on the operator of Nord Stream 2 in order to improve relations with Germany, whose former government was in favor of this project. “Putin feels weak. Blocking this gas pipeline should be a bipartisan goal,” said Republican Senator John Barroso. “This law will not help Ukraine,” says Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, “its goal is to hit Biden.” Several Democratic senators also voted for the bill, which would force the Joe Biden administration to impose sanctions against the wishes of the president.
The Democrats have submitted their own bill to the Senate that provides for sanctions against Vladimir Putin, his inner circle, and leading Russian financial institutions in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine. According to the Associated Press, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken assured Congress that Germany would block the pipeline in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine, but the new German government did not make any public assurances on this matter.
Despite disagreements over sanctions against the operator of Nord Stream 2, the vast majority of US senators opposed the project, believing that it would give the Kremlin a new instrument of pressure on European countries.