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U.S. imposes further sanctions over Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline

U.S. imposes further sanctions over Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions Monday targeting a Russian entity involved in the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Biden administration imposed further sanctions Monday targeting the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Russian entity Transadria Ltd., one of its vessels and a second unnamed vessel were blacklisted under the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act of 2019.

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The blacklisted entities were identified for sanctions in a report the State Department submitted to Congress on Monday under the act that seeks to stop Russia from using its energy resources for coercive purposes.

According to the legislation, "Russia uses its energy export pipeline to create national and regional dependences on Russian energy supplies, leveraging these dependencies to expand its political, economic and military influence, weaken European security and undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests."

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The project, according to its website, states the pipeline will transport natural gas from Russia through the Baltic Sea and into Germany to meet the European Union's rapidly declining domestic gas production.

The Biden administration is the third in succession to be against the $11 billion pipeline project, calling it a "bad deal" for Germany, Ukraine and for the United States' Central and Eastern European allies and partners.

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In total, the Biden administration has sanctioned eight people and 17 vessels under the PEESA in connection to Nord Stream 2, though in May, President Joe Biden exempted a Germany company and its chief executive from the punitive measures.

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"Even as the administration continues to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, including via our sanctions, we continue to work with Germany and other allies and partners to reduce the risks posed by the pipeline to Ukraine and frontline NATO and EU countries and to push back against harmful Russian activities, including in the energy sphere," Blinken said in a statement Monday.

The sanctions were imposed amid rising concerns about a potential invasion of Ukraine by Russia as it amasses forces along their border.

On Nov. 15, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to reduce tensions while reaffirming that the intergovernmental military alliance "stands with Ukraine."

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"All NATO allies are united in their condemnation of Russia's behavior," he said, in reference to the military build up and its previous actions against Ukraine, including its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

On Thursday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on the United States to sanction Russia, accusing the Kremlin of generating an energy crisis in Europe while threatening his country's sovereignty.

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"Ukraine urges you not to protect a geopolitical project that would make Ukraine more vulnerable to Russian aggression," he said in a statement.

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