Last month, US President Donald Trump said that he has “been looking at” introducing sanctions against Nord Stream 2, a joint gas pipeline project developed by Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European companies.
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul “quietly worked against” US sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, the news website Daily Beast cited unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that the senator had postponed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of a bipartisan bill that would impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
Although the Daily Beast called Paul as “a close friend of President Donald Trump”, it was Paul who during his election campaign ahead of the 2016 US presidential elections described Trump as a “bully”; Trump, for his part, referred to Paul as a “loser” at the time.
As far as Nord Stream 2 is concerned, Paul also sent his Senate colleagues a letter arguing that the legislation doesn’t clarify which entities would be sanctioned in connection with the gas project.
“This means that, ultimately, we are voting blind as to who will be sanctioned under this bill. Congress would once again pass on our authority to the Executive Branch, thus abandoning our constitutional responsibility to make laws”, he wrote in the letter obtained by the Daily Beast.
Paul warned that if the legislation goes into force, “we would be sanctioning European allies” rather than Russia.
“These sanctions would not be felt by the Russians, but by companies from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Sweden, and Italy, as well as their investors” , he noted.
Paul concluded the letter by “strongly” urging the Senate colleagues to “oppose this legislation”.
This comes after US President Donald Trump said in mid-June that he is “thinking about” imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2; the statement was preceded by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry announcing in May that Trump is due to sign a bill on restrictive measures against the project.
Earlier, American Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell wrote a letter to a group of corporations involved in the project, threatening them with sanctions if they continue participating in the project, citing a 2017 US law, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
The US has repeatedly tried to discourage its allies that are part of the Nord Stream 2’s construction from pursuing the project over its alleged threats to European security. Even so, the projects is supported by Germany, Austria and other European countries.
Nord Stream 2, due to be finalised next year, stipulates the building of a twin pipeline that will deliver about 55 billion cubic metres (almost 2 trillion cubic feet) of gas directly to Germany and a number of other EU members.
A $11 billion energy infrastructure project, Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture between Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European energy companies – Austria’s OMV, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, France’s Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.