A Republican congressional leader demands that the Biden administration impose new sanctions on the Russian pipeline
Republican Senator Ted Cruz has refused to confirm William Burns, President Joe Biden’s appointee, to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Cruz demanded that the Biden administration impose tough new sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week unanimously supported the nomination of Burns, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, as the new head of the CIA. His nomination is expected to eventually be approved by the full Senate.
Cruz decided to delay Burns’ appointment in order to pressure the administration to impose new sanctions on companies that are helping Russian energy state concern Gazprom build Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion pipeline. Russia hopes to use it to bring gas through the Baltic Sea to Europe via Germany.
“I will stop blocking (Burns’) candidacy when the Biden administration fulfills its legal obligation to identify and sanction the courts and companies helping (Russian President Vladimir) Putin build the pipeline,” Cruz tweeted late Friday night. Bloomberg was the first to report it.
After a year-long delay due to the imposition of new U.S. sanctions, Gazprom is rushing to complete the pipeline, which analysts say could happen by September. The second vessel, the Akademik Chersky, has begun construction of the pipeline off the coast of Denmark.
President Joe Biden considers the pipeline construction a “bad deal for Europe,” as the White House said. The pipeline is being built to bypass Ukraine, depriving Kyiv of lucrative transit fees, and undermining its efforts to fight Russian aggression.
U.S. lawmakers from both parties opposed to the project have estimated that a total of about 15 ships are involved in the project to complete Nord Stream 2. Last month, however, the U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on only one vessel involved in the project.
This week, 40 Republican senators sent a message to President Biden, warning him that sanctions on the vessel Fortuna will not stop the construction of the pipeline, which is only a short time away from completion.
On May 16, the State Department is scheduled to submit another report to Congress on Nord Stream 2, which would impose additional sanctions. However, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that sanctions are only “one of many tools” the U.S. can use in the fight against Nord Stream 2.
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