Trump says he’s considering sanctions to block Nord Stream 2

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Trump says he’s considering sanctions to block Nord Stream 2

By Josh Wingrove on 6/12/2019

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s considering using U.S. sanctions to stop construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

“We’re protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany” for its gas, Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

He didn’t say whom the U.S. might sanction to block the pipeline.

Trump said he’ll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.

U.S. opposition to the gas pipeline is bipartisan, out of concern about Russia using its supplies of natural gas to exert pressure on Western European nations dependent on the fuel. U.S. lawmakers also fear that with an added northern pipeline for its gas, Russia could more easily cut off fuel to Ukraine, which is now a key transit country to Europe.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Ukraine in May that he expected Congress to prepare legislation to sanction companies involved in the pipeline’s construction.

Senators Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, have drafted a bill that would target U.S. sanctions at vessels laying the pipeline and deny U.S. visas to executives from companies linked to the ships. The legislation would also block transactions in U.S.-based property or interests belonging to those individuals and would penalize entities that provide insurance to the project.

The controversial pipeline is backed by Germany, and construction is scheduled to begin by the end of the year, though it faces delays from permitting issues in Denmark.