Anders Aslund: “Nord stream-2” is an investment with geopolitical reasons

A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to strengthen sanctions for the construction of the Russian gas pipeline.

Lawmakers from the lower house of Congress have introduced a bill clarifying and expanding sanctions on the Russian “Nord stream-2” gas pipeline under construction. This was reported by Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

According to the authors of the bill, the document is important because Russia continues to try to put pressure on European allies and their energy supply.

“While the United States and Europe worked together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia continued its efforts to destroy the transatlantic partnership. We will not allow Vladimir Putin to hold our allies, hostage, by building the “Nord stream-2″ gas pipeline,” said Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

According to him, the new bill is the next step to be taken in the fight against the aggressive policy of the Kremlin. Kinzinger added that the Americans will work with German partners to find a solution that will meet Germany’s energy needs.

Anders Aslund, an expert of the Atlantic Council, notes that sanctions are an essential element in preventing the construction of “Nord stream-2.”

“The US Congress can gradually tighten the screws and can go even further. Sanctions were imposed on ships that could have laid the pipeline. You can also pay attention to specific people. We should not underestimate the ability of the US authorities in this matter,” says Anders Aslund.

Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, one of the authors of the bill, noted that the only way to suppress Putin’s ambitions is joint actions with US allies.

“Nord stream-2″ gas pipeline threatens not only Ukraine but also the whole of Europe. Energy is one of the tools used by Putin in his quest to establish dominance over a free Europe. It is gratifying that Congress quickly passed additional sanctions to prevent the completion of this project. The only way to suppress Putin’s ambitions is to create a united front with our allies,” Heck said.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the US sanctions do not correspond to the legal framework of Germany.

“We are talking about an economic project with political consequences. This is why the Federal government has made a lot of effort to negotiate gas transit with Ukraine over the next few years, so as not to cut off Ukraine from Russian gas transit and the fee for it. However, we believe that the sanctions imposed by the United States of America do not correspond to our legal framework,” the German Chancellor said.

Anders Aslund notes that, despite the statement of Angela Merkel, she does not support the construction of the “Nord stream-2.” However, some German lawmakers and several European countries support their creation.

“The coalition partners in the Bundestag support the construction of the gas pipeline, and for this reason, it should behave carefully. She has never been a supporter of the construction of the gas pipeline. Russia must also get permission from the Danish authorities to use the ship for the construction of the “Nord stream-2,” and its characteristics do not meet the environmental standards of Denmark. Only Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Belgium are in favor of construction, and this is frail support. About 20 countries are firmly against it, and a few more don’t care. The German leader is not particularly keen to exert pressure. So the whole situation is very complicated,” says Aslund

The Atlantic Council expert adds that gas prices in Europe have fallen significantly in recent years. The expert also notes that Russia has too much pipeline capacity to export gas to Europe. Therefore, according to Aslund, “Nord stream-2” is a political project rather than an economic one.