Republican US senators demand sanctions on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

A dozen US Senate Republicans have announced that they plan to block two of President Joe Biden’s Treasury Department nominations over the administration’s decision not to sanction Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, sharply criticised by Poland.

On July 21, the United States agreed to lift its sanctions on companies involved in the project in exchange for Germany pledging to invest in Ukrainian projects and impose sanctions on Russia should it adopt a hostile policy.

Nord Stream 2 is a controversial Russia-Germany gas pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine and endangers, according to its critics, energy security in Eastern Europe.

Poland has opposed its construction, arguing that it increases energy dependency on Russia. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticised the US-German agreement describing it as the "selfish" act of Poland's allies.

The threatened action by the 12 Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee, which has oversight of the Treasury, could indefinitely hold up Senate approval of the two candidates nominated to lead the administration's sanctions policy.

The senators, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, said they would continue to block the nominations so long as the administration chose not to impose sanctions against the project, or until it 'adequately addresses the absence of penalties.'

The senators argued that "if completed, this (Nord Stream 2 – PAP) project will increase (Russian President – PAP) Vladimir Putin’s evil influence on Europe and destabilizes Ukraine’s fragile security."