WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators said on Wednesday they could draft further sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Moscow finishes laying pipes for the project.

U.S. sanctions legislation originally sponsored by Senators Ted Cruz, a Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, in December halted work by Swiss-Dutch company Allseas on the pipeline that aims to boost Russia’s gas exports under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

Now a Russian pipe-laying vessel aims to finish the remaining 100 miles (160 km) of the project, led by state gas company Gazprom (GAZP.MM). The pipeline, aimed at bypassing Ukraine, could be launched by the end of 2020 or early next year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, opposes the project on the grounds it would strengthen Putin’s economic and political grip over Europe.

Lauren Blair Aronson, a spokeswoman for Cruz, said “all options remain on the table” to stop Nord Stream 2 from being completed. “There are still sanctions options that were drafted and discussed in 2019, which would significantly broaden the scope of sanctions,” she said.

If last year’s bill doesn’t stop the project, Aronson said, “of course those options will be revisited.”

Shaheen “has been closely monitoring the situation in the Baltic Sea and Russian attempts to circumvent existing sanctions and is evaluating all options, including additional sanctions,” said spokesman Ryan Nickel.

Nord Stream 2 did not immediately return a request for comment. The Nord Stream 2 consortium includes Uniper (UN01.DE), Wintershall-Dea (BASFn.DE), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), OMV (OMVV.VI) and Engie (ENGIE.PA).

A senate aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some lawmakers had recently spoken with Richard Grenell, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Germany, about the possibility of new sanctions legislation.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Analysis: Trump’s war on truth takes a dangerous turn as he attacks the media’s coronavirus coverage

New York (CNN Business)Since the dawn of the Trump presidency, countless experts have warned that the president’s lack of credibility would imperil the country in the event of an emergency. With the worsening coronavirus outbreak, those fears may be coming…

US stock market falling faster than during the Wall Street Crash

US stocks and shares stabilised on Thursday but analysis by The Independent shows that the American equity markets over the past month have been falling even more rapidly than it did during the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The Wall Street Crash,  which…

April job losses fall hard on restaurants, retailers

NEW YORK — Who remembers their last meal at a sit-down restaurant? Better yet: who knows when their next one will be? That’s the question bedeviling not just diners but Wall Street, where analysts and investors have seen investments in…

SoftBank says it tested 44,000 people for Covid-19 antibodies, more than any other Japanese company

Hong Kong/Tokyo (CNN Business)Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank just conducted voluntary Covid-19 antibody tests on more than 44,000 employees, their families, clients and outside medical professionals such as doctors and dentists. The company says it is the largest such test by…