U.S. senators Ted Cruz, Jeanne Sheikhin, John Barrasso, Ron Johnson and Tom Cotton proposed to include additional sanctions against the ongoing Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the draft U.S. defense budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021, which begins October 1. Their proposal appeared among 529 Senate amendments to the draft U.S. military budget.
The new amendment extends the scope of potential sanctions from ships that directly “lay pipes” at a depth of 100 feet (30.5 meters) for the Nord Stream – 2 or Turkish Stream pipelines to ships that “lay pipes or carry out pipe-laying activities” (at the same depth). Such activities include, but are not limited to, “site preparation, pipe trenching, land surveying, backfilling, bending and welding of pipes”.
In addition, according to the senators’ initiative, sanctions in the form of blocking assets in US jurisdiction may be imposed on foreign individuals, companies and their managers who provide “underwriting (insurance risk assessment), insurance or reinsurance services” to vessels involved in laying pipes for Nord Stream 2, as well as those who provide “testing, inspection and certification” services necessary for the operation of the pipeline.
Restrictive measures may also be announced against service providers and facilities for “technological upgrading or installation of welding equipment, modification or retrofitting of ships, joining ships (in tandem).
In December 2019, the United States introduced a package of sanctions on the project. As a result, the Swiss company Allseas had to stop pipe-laying work in the Baltic Sea and withdraw its ships from the pipeline construction area.
Germany, Russia and other countries involved in the project were condemned by Washington. Berlin called the sanctions an intervention in EU affairs. However, on June 4, American senators proposed new sanctions against insurance companies that work with ships involved in the project.
In response, German politicians proposed to introduce duties on American gas supplies. At the same time, American leader Donald Trump threatened Germany with introducing a tax on European products supplies to the USA.
The gas pipeline is now 94 per cent complete and Russia is confident that it will be launched by the end of 2020. It is planned to connect a Russian pipelayer Akademik Chersky to the construction.