Tightened sanctions: USA follow up in the Nord Stream Zoff: “Will use the entire spectrum of sanctions”
The US is realizing its threat and expanding sanctions in order to thwart the completion of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. All companies that work with Nord Stream 2 are now affected.
In a guide published on Tuesday on the Foreign Ministry’s website, the State Department expanded last year’s sanctions law.
The US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 are now targeting any company that would provide services or funding for ships supposed to work on Nord Stream 2.
Literally, the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act (PEESA) now states: “Such activities, which are subject to sanctions under PEESA or other authorities, may include the provision of services or facilities for upgrading or installing equipment for these ships or the financing of upgrades or installations of equipment for these ships. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Treasury are ready to use the full spectrum of sanctions authorities to stop the construction of these pipelines. “
Request from three US senators was granted
The law, signed by US President Donald Trump at the end of last year, provided sanctions for the pipelayers involved in the construction of the pipeline. The law stopped the $ 10.5 billion pipeline, which is supposed to transport Russian gas to Germany, around 100 kilometers off the German Baltic coast.
In August, US Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson threatened the management of Fährhafen Sassnitz GmbH, which operates Mukran Port on Rügen, with “financial destruction”. The US State Department has now tightened the sanctions guideline in accordance with the request of the senators.
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Tuesday’s guide “is an appropriate answer, especially when you consider there is more work to be done,” said Francis Fannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources to the Wall Street Journal: “We want to make sure that all parties have clarity that they could fall under our sanctions. “
USA violates international law – over 120 companies affected
Compared to FOCUS Online, a Nord Stream spokesman said: “We are aware of the new implementation provisions regarding the PEESA sanctions, which were published by the US State Department on October 20, 2020.” The statement continues:
“Nord Stream 2 is a fully licensed project that will be built in accordance with national and international law. […] Any sanction threats targeting the Nord Stream 2 project will affect a large number of western contractors and investors. If they were imposed, they could directly affect over 120 companies from more than twelve European countries. ”
The European Commission already described the sanctions as a violation of international law in the summer. EU Foreign Minister and Vice-Head of the EU Commission Josep Borrell said at the time that the sanctions were “unacceptable and violate international law and the Union firmly rejects them”. Borrell was certain that “the extraterritorial application of sanctions violates international law”.
Please also read: Pipeline project nearing completion – EU Commission on Nord Stream 2: US sanctions would violate international law
Last month, the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs, a leading maritime insurance group, announced that “there is no insurance coverage for activities affecting or related to Nord Stream 2” due to threatened US sanctions.
Three new ships arrived in Mukran?
Regardless of all the difficulties, work seemed to have started to move again recently: The berth of the Russian laying ship “Akademik Tscherski” in the port of Sassnitz on Rügen has been orphaned for a good two weeks: According to the marinetraffic.com portal, the ship has the German waters in the direction of Kaliningrad and is now about 30 kilometers from the Curonian Lagoon.
The Nord Stream 2 consortium does not reveal what the excursion is all about. The Russian portal neftegaz.ru reports, however, that the special ship is to carry out test drives in safe Russian territorial waters. Is this a deception by the Russians? Or could the “Akademik Tscherski” actually begin the laying work soon, despite more stringent sanctions?
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