US Defense Bill Targets NordStream 2 Gas Pipeline

The annual U.S. defense policy bill includes sanctions that could potentially disrupt the NordStream 2 pipeline, one of Russia’s biggest international projects. The $11 bn. project aims to double the existing capacity of NordStream pipeline. Russia says the project, which is more than 90% complete, will begin delivering gas to Europe next year.

The US on the other hand, is opposed to the pipeline thinking the project would strengthen Kremlin’s hand in its relations with Europe. The sanctions target companies and individuals that are related to the project.

The future of the bill is still in jeopardy though, with President Trump declaring he would veto the bill. Both the House and the Senate had passed the bill with overwhelming majorities.

A US official said “These sanctions significantly toughen existing provisions … to cover critical components of the pipeline project.” The incoming Biden administration is expected to maintain US’ stance on the project.

Russia said the threat of U.S. sanctions was a sign of unfair competition and it would defend its interests.

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